KOO JEONG-A was born in Seoul on March 13, 1967. Her subtle installations, which allude to the histories of Performance and Conceptual art while poetically highlighting seemingly unimportant everyday items and materials, often border on the invisible. For the exhibition Unfinished History at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (1998), the artist created a shelter in the corner of the gallery, where she hid during the installation of the exhibition. When the shelter was removed, the artist had filled the corner with papier-mâché. This trace of her presence was titled Humpty Dumpty. Oslo (1998) is a miniature landscape of crushed aspirin on a small wooden base in the corner of a dimly lit room, and South (2000) consists of an overheated room and a mound of red earth assembled on a table.
Koo worked as an artist-in-residence in the Augarten Contemporary, part of the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, in 2002. That same year, she had a solo exhibition at the Wiener Secession, titled 3355, for which she locked herself into the gallery space twenty-four hours prior to the exhibition opening and again created an installation of personal detritus. In 2007 she produced a series of installations under the title Oussseux for the Centre International d’Art et du Paysage in Ile de Vassivière, drawing from the term “ousss” that she invented to signify a childlike, whimsical quality that defines many of her works. For Dreams and Thoughts (2003–08), hoards of unwrapped sticks of gum were stacked ad infinitum into small mounds in the gallery space, reminiscent of the cigarettes she orderly amassed in a corner for 3355.
Koo has had solo exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1994 and 1997), Moderna Museet in Stockholm (1998), Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (2004), Centre International d’Art et du Paysage in Ile de Vassivière, France (2007), and Pinksummer in Genoa (2008), among other venues. She has shown regularly in group exhibitions since 1994, including the Venice Biennale (1995, 2001, and 2003), Kwangju Biennale (1997), International Triennale of Contemporary Art in Yokohama (2001), Biennale of Sydney (2004), and Performa 05. In 2002, she was a finalist for the Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize. She lives and works in Berlin and London.