Cover image of the review
Installation view of Kaijern Koo, *glistening windows theory,* Daine Singer, 2020. Courtesy of Daine Singer. Photo: Tim Gresham

Kaijern Koo, glistening windows theory

21 Nov 2020
4 Nov - 5 Dec 2020

glistening windows theory (2020) is the first solo exhibition by recent Victorian College of the Arts graduate Kaijern Koo, presented at Daine Singer gallery’s new project space in Fitzroy. Sympathetic magic, as well as the “broken windows theory”, are mentioned by the gallery as reference points for Koo’s development of the work, and in keeping with the theme of nineteenth and twentieth century sociological theories, I have to add “conspicuous consumption” to the mix.

Koo has previously exhibited both paintings and sculptural installations but here has carefully built three works of identical dimensions, with simulated liquid leading, paint and resin applied to a plywood support. As such the works initially read as paintings, alluding to the painting-as-window trope, and Koo has rendered the scenes from “outside” in blurred, translucent oils. This layer functions to foreground the “glass” of the window, in which, following the format of both Tarot cards and lead-light windows, are three different domestic interiors crammed with furniture, plants, ornaments and household miscellanea. I learn from the neatly painted citations below every object their alleged celebrity pedigree: Jennifer Aniston’s amethyst sits beside Russell Brand’s buddha figure on Adam Levine’s coffee table, and floating above each room a heraldic banner reading “for yogic fortitude” in this case. The other two works follow the same format: lovers’ endurance (2020), for example, features Barack and Michelle Obama’s bed next to the bedside table of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas’ gambler’s fortune (2020) depicts David Walsh’s couch underneath a painting belonging to Ko Chun—a fictional movie-character nicknamed the God of Gambling. Koo has skilfully applied the simulated liquid lead as per its prescribed use, fashioning a lead-light trompe l’oeil faithful to the technique’s graphic lines and flat sections of colour.

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