AMBIVALENCE OF THE UNICORN
2016, Acrylic, Gouache, Graphite, Ink, and Holographic Sticker on Wood, 45 x 60 x 3 cm

For Singapore-born painter Kass Koh, the tension most vivid to her today lies in an inner conflict: grappling with what she perceives as a fluid self-identity. While the youth often struggle to solidify their self-perceptions, Kass believes that the ‘self’ is ultimately ungraspable—eternally evolving as one’s contexts, circumstances and viewpoints change over time. 

To her, this ‘self’ is a culmination of her past and present deeds, and the events of her previous life: and thus, a continuous rebirth. She is acutely aware of not attaching herself too deeply with her ‘self’, striving to constantly free herself from whom she may once have been, but no longer is.



Kass seems to apply a similar view in her art—believing that in confronting tensions, no matter how unpleasant the artistic process, she will arrive at a sense of liberation. Holding on to the fixed and the certain seems to bear little to no weight both in her personal philosophy and art—in which she navigates the complicated, ever-evolving identity of present-day Singapore and the culture of its youth.







MATURATION
2016, Acrylic, Gouache, Graphite, Ink, and Holographic Sticker on Wooden Panel, 120 x 120 x 4 cm

In her largest piece, “Maturation”, a complex, otherworldly scene packed with a plethora of intricate, dizzying details both perplex the viewer, and stimulate a feeling of wonder. Coloured in sweet and pleasing pastel tones and filled with whimsical figures akin to the fantastical, amorphous creatures in children’s books, the work creates a world in which ancient tales and contemporary virtual kingdoms marry into one.



Yet, in this ambiguous world, there are no simplistic heroes or villains in sight—only a sublime, highly ornate utopia brimming with infinite little stories waiting to be told, in which each corner pulsates with a life of its own. 

The title “Maturation” both frames and complicates the meaning of the work: indicating a state of transition into growth, a deepening of layers and an expansion of worlds.







TROPHY I
2018, Acrylic, Gouache, and Graphite on Wood, 30.5 x 30.5 x 2.5 cm

In the alternative realms she imagines, Kass incorporates a mix of influences rife in one’s childhood and adolescence: from science fiction, comic books, to video games. 

As she converges these worlds, the tension Kass admits to feeling mentioned earlier subtly underpins her work: how does one reconcile identity amidst the myriad myths and constructed memories both she and society create?



Yet, one detects that Kass is not interested in feeding us with clear-cut answers, but simply inviting us to join her as she sits with her confusion—and hopefully, evolve.







SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
2018, Acrylic, Gouache, and Graphite on Wood, 30.5 x 30.5 x 2.5 cm

In a later piece entitled “Survival of the Fittest”, a more compact scene focuses our attention: at the centre of the piece is a boxing match, but instead of humans fighting in a ring, alien-like creatures occupy the space—sparring senselessly rather than strategically. 

Here, “Survival” takes on a unique form: in which disruptions are masked in bright, pop colours; and competitions are not pomp celebrations, but mundane, essential acts of survival amid the chaos.



Yet, one detects that Kass is not interested in feeding us with clear-cut answers, but simply inviting us to join her as she sits with her confusion—and hopefully, evolve.






KASS KOH
(b. 1992, Singapore)


Kass is an emerging inter-disciplinary artist who dwells in the complexities of myths through a metamodern lens. Drawing inspiration from speculative themes of science fiction, ancient mythology, video games, board games and comic books, Kass creates alternate realms that expand upon the imagination and dialogue of personal myths and archetypes.