Germaine Koh

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Germaine Koh
Born1967 (age 51–52)
George Town, Malaysia
EducationUniversity of Ottawa
Hunter College
OccupationConceptual artist
Spouse(s)Ian Verchere
RelativesGraham Verchere (nephew)

Germaine Koh (born 1967) is a Malaysian-born Canadian conceptual artist.

Early life[edit]

Koh was born in George Town, Malaysia.[1] She emigrated to Canada with her family at the age of two and was raised in Armstrong, British Columbia.[2][3]


Koh received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio and Theory and History of Art at the University of Ottawa and obtain a Master of fine arts in 1993 from Hunter College in New York.[3]

Artistic career[edit]

Koh works out of Vancouver, B.C., but has described herself as having "no fixed address"[4] Her art draws the use of everyday objects and familiar concepts in order to examine how people interact with those they encounter while moving through the world.[1][3] For example, her piece "Call", is an old telephone in a public space. When the phone is picked up it randomly dials a number of a participant that has agreed to have conversations with strangers at any time of the day.[5]

There isn't a typical "Germaine Koh" piece - she utilizes many different materials for every piece she creates, yet each piece encompasses an ideology, perhaps best said by Koh herself in a interview:[6]

I would characterize my work as a whole as an attempt to be attentive to the poetics of daily life by focusing on those phenomena that shape everyday experience, often slightly below the threshold of notice (and, yes, value)

Other projects[edit]

In addition to her artistic work, Koh is co-founder of the Toronto-based record label and artist-management company Weewerk.[1][7] She is also an athlete. Koh played varsity volleyball and badminton at the University of Ottawa and is a former captain of roller derby team the Terminal City All-Stars. Her interest in the relationship between creativity and athleticism resulted in the creation of The Koh-Verchere Award for Athletic and Creative Excellence, an Emily Carr University of Art and Design student award,[8] and the establishment of Vancouver's League, an open group of people who play games invented by the participants.[9][10] Koh was part of the design team for the No. 2 Road North Drainage Pump Station[11] in Richmond B.C., which was awarded the Public Works Association of British Columbia 2018 Project of the Year award.[12] In 2018, Koh became the first artist-in-residence in the City of Vancouver engineering department.[13]

Major exhibitions[edit]

Solo Exhibitions[edit]
  • Home Made Home, Evergreen Cultural Centre, September 14 - November 4, 2018[14]
  • Home Made Home, Richmond Art Gallery, June 17 - August 26, 2018, Curated by Nan Caponga.[15]
  • Home Made Home, Kelowna Art Gallery, Kelowna BC, Curator: Liz Wylie.[16]
  • Lively Objects: Enchantment and Disruption, Museum of Vancouver, August 16, 2015[17]
  • FUSE, Vancouver Art Gallery, November 29, 2013[18]
  • Culture + Community Symposium, Vancouver, October 26, 2013[19]
  • Germaine Koh: Weather Systems, Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops April 6 to June 15, 2013[20]
  • Germaine Koh - Knitwork; Germaine Koh/Gordon Hicks - There|Here, Galerie B-312, Montreal 2012[21]
  • The Haunting, Invaliden 1 Galerie, Berlin, 2010[22]
  • Fallow, Charles H Scott Gallery, Vancouver BC, Feb-Mar 2009[23]
  • Germaine Koh, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver BC, Apr-May 2008[24]
  • Overflow, Centre A, Vancouver BC, Jan-Feb 2007[25]
  • Germaine Koh: Call and Relay, Video Pool, Winnipeg MB, Oct-Nov 2007[26]
  • Germaine Koh, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa ON, Aug-Oct 2006[27]
  • Relay: an intervention into the fabric of the BALTIC building, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, July - September 2005[28]
  • Marks and Relay, Tate Biennial, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, England, 2004
  • Germaine Koh: about around, Gallery One One One, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba November 30, 2001 - January 11/12, 2002[29]
  • Germaine Koh, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver May 5, 2001 - July 15, 2001[30]
  • Germaine Koh: Shell, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Jan-Feb 2005.[31]
  • Germaine Koh: Shell, Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong, 2004
  • Germaine Koh: Opening Hours, McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, ON, 2002.
  • Germaine Koh, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Apr-Jun 2002.
  • Knitwork, The British Museum, London, UK, Feb-Apr 2002. Performance/installation related to conference "From Material Things: art and artefact in the 21st century". Curator: James Putnam & Gabriela Salgado.[32]
  • Germaine Koh: Around/About, Contemporary Art Gallery, Germaine Koh, Vancouver, BC, May-Jul 2001. Curator: Keith Wallace.[33]
  • Solo Exhibition, Watch, Toronto, ON, 5-7 Feb 2001. Curator: Barr Gilmore.

Group Exhibition[edit]

  • Public Volumes. Small Arms Inspection Building, Mississauga, 2019. Curator: Noa Bronstein.[34]
  • Kuenstlerhaus Palais Thurn & Taxis, Silvrett Atelier Montafon 2018. Bregenz AT, 2019.
  • Afterlives, Or Gallery, November 25, 2017- February 3, 2018[35]
  • Persistence, Vancouver Art Gallery, June 24, 2017- October 1, 2017[36]
  • This is it with it as it is, group exhibition at AHVA Gallery, November 23, 2016- January 14, 2017[37]
  • (im)mobile exhibition, Haus für Kunst Uri, March 5 - May 15, 2016[38]
  • (im)mobile, two-person show with Edith Flückiger, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Curator: Mireille Bourgeois & Chantal Molleur October 17- November 30, 2014[39]
  • Les matins infidèles: l'art du protocole, Musée nationale des beaux-arts du Québec, Curator: Bernard Larmarche November 2013- September 2014[40]
  • Scotiabank Nuit Blanche" one A: 'Restaging the Encounter', Curator: Candice Hopkins, City of Toronto, October 5, 2013[41]
  • There/Here: Germain Koh and Gordon Hicks, Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, BC, 2011. Participants: with Gordon Hicks. Curator: Jordan Strom.
  • Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes & Social Control, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, ON, Jan-Apr 2010. Participants: with Ian Verchere. Curator: Jan Allen & Sarah E.K. Smith.
  • Luminato Festival of Arts + Creativity, Luminato Festival 2009, Toronto, ON, Jun 2009.
  • How Soon Is Now, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Feb-May 2009. Curator: Kathleen Ritter.
  • Here Now or Nowhere, Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie, AB, Jan 2009. Art in public places. Curator: Micah Lexier.[42]
  • Schematic: New Media Art from Canada, [space], London, UK, Nov-Dec 2008. Curator: Michelle Kasprzak, Gillian McIver & Heather Corcoran.
  • All Together Now: Recent Toronto Art, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON, Nov 2008-Spring 2009. Installation of works from the permanent collection. Curator: Michelle Jacque[43]
  • Untethered, eyebeam, New York, Sep-Oct 2008. Curator: Sarah Cook[44]
  • This Particular Day of June, Or Gallery, Vancouver, BC, May-Jun 2008. Curator: Jonathan Middleton.
  • On Being An Exhibition, Artists Space , New York, Oct-Dec 2007. Curator: Joseph del Pesco
  • Ingenuity Festival, Ingenuity Festival 2007, Cleveland, OH, 2007. Curator: Steve Dietz
  •, Folly, Lancaster, UK, Sep-Oct 2006.
  • 2004 Sobey Art Award Exhibition, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, SK, Jul-Sep 2006.[45]
  • Territory, Artspeak and Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Jun-Aug 2006.Curator: Melanie O'Brian & Helga Pakasaar.
  • Temporary Import / Vorübergehende Einfuhr, Art Forum Berlin, Berlin, Sep 2005. Curator: Susanne Titz.
  • 2004 Sobey Art Award Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, ON, Sep-Nov 2005
  • 2004 Sobey Art Award Exhibition, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC, Jul-Aug 2005.
  • L'envers des apparences, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Summer 2005. Curator: Gilles Godmer.[46]
  • 2004 Sobey Art Award Exhibition, Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, YK, Mar-May 2005.
  • 2004 Sobey Art Award, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Exhibition, Halifax, NS, Oct-Dec 2004.
  • Sense, Edmonton Art Gallery (now Art Gallery of Alberta), Edmonton, AB, Sep-Nov 2004. Curator: Catherine Crowston.
  • Entre ciel et terre - Biennale nationale de sculpture contemporaine 2004, Galerie d'Art du Parc, Trois-Rivières, QC, Jun-Aug 2004. Curator: Gaston St-Pierre.


In 2004, Koh was a finalist for the Sobey Art Award and in 2010 she won a VIVA Award in recognition of her outstanding achievement as a mid-career artist in British Columbia.[3]


Germaine Koh (2001), Germaine Koh and Keith Wallace, Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver, BC). ISBN 9780920751800[47]

Germaine Koh/Stall (2004), Germaine Koh, Para/Site Art Space (Hong Kong).[48]

Overflow: Germaine Koh (2007), Germaine Koh, Centre A - Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Vancouver, BC). ISBN 9780973271157[49]

Opening hours: Germaine Koh (2002) Steven Reinke and Rosemary Heather, McMaster Museum of Art (Hamilton). ISBN 9781894088367[50]


  1. ^ a b c "LOOK AT THIS: Germaine Koh's Ingenious Machines And Social Experiments". CBC. February 1, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  2. ^ Mayer, Marc; Brayshaw, Christopher (14 October 2002). "Fresh Eyes". TIME Magazine Canadian edition. pp. 58–65.
  3. ^ a b c d Cramp, Beverly (December 31, 2012). "GERMAINE KOH: Brewing up conceptual art". Galleries West. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  4. ^ Epp, Robert. "Germaine Koh: Around About Exhibition". Archived from the original on 2006-05-07. Retrieved 2006-09-04.
  5. ^ "Koh projects > Call". Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  6. ^ Kabatoff, Mathew. "Interview with Germaine Koh, January 1, 2001". Archived from the original on 2006-05-14. Retrieved 2006-09-04.
  7. ^ "about". Weewerk. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  8. ^ staff writer (2014-04-24). "ian verchere and germaine koh the creative edge". Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  9. ^ Stewart, Megan (September 16, 2013). "All the kids are doing it". Vancouver Courier. Vancouver. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  10. ^ Staff writer(s). "League". Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  11. ^ "City of Richmond BC - No. 2 Road Drainage Pump Station (2018)". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  12. ^ "Richmond pump station project takes home public works award -". Journal Of Commerce. 2018-11-19. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  13. ^ staff, Courier. "City engineering department gets its very own artist in residence". Vancouver Courier. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  14. ^ "Evergreen Cultural Centre | Coquitlam, BC". Evergreen. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  15. ^ "Welcome | Richmond Art Gallery". Richmond Art Gallery. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  16. ^ "Germaine Koh: Home Made Home | Kelowna Art Gallery". Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  17. ^ "MOV | Museum of Vancouver". MOV | Museum of Vancouver. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  18. ^ "Vancouver Art Gallery". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  19. ^ "Culture + Community: Social Practice and the City | Emily Carr University". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  20. ^ Laurence, Robin (December 16, 2013). "Germaine Koh: Weather Systems". Canadian Art. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  21. ^ "Accueil | Galerie B312". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  22. ^ "The Haunting". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  23. ^ "Libby Leshgold Gallery (formerly Charles H. Scott Gallery)". Galleries West. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  24. ^ "Catriona Jeffries". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  25. ^ "Overflow: Germaine Koh (2007) | Centre A". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  26. ^ "VP Media Arts Centre". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  27. ^ "Ottawa Art Gallery | Art and Community". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  28. ^ Staff writer(s). "Germaine Koh". BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  29. ^ Staff writers. "Germain Koh about around". Gallery One One One. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  30. ^ Staff writer(s). "Germaine Koh". Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver). Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  31. ^ "Koh's Work Focuses on Meaningful Details". Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly. 2005-01-27. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  32. ^ Barnett, Pennina (2002-11-01). "Small Gestures and Acts of Grace: An Interview with Germaine Koh". Women: A Cultural Review. 13 (3): 356–369. doi:10.1080/0957404022000026568. ISSN 0957-4042.
  33. ^ "Publication Review | Germaine Koh". Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. 2017-11-10. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  34. ^ smallarmsinspect. "Public Volumes". Small Arms Inspection Building (SAIB). Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  35. ^ "Or Gallery: Afterlives". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  36. ^ "Vancouver Art Gallery". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  37. ^ "AHVA Gallery | AHVA - The Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  38. ^ Uri, Haus für Kunst. "Aktuell". Haus für Kunst Uri (in German). Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  39. ^ "(im)mobile | Dalhousie Art Gallery". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  40. ^ "Les matins infidèles L'art du protocole". Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) (in French). Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  41. ^ "Nuit Blanche Toronto". City of Toronto. 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  42. ^ Moser, Gabrielle. "Here Now or Nowhere: Northern Lights". Canadian Art. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  43. ^ "All Together Now: Recent Toronto Art | AGO Art Gallery of Ontario". Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  44. ^ "Untethered". Eyebeam. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  45. ^ "The Sobey Art Award 2004 Touring Exhibition". Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  46. ^ "L'Envers des apparences". MAC Montréal (in French). Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  47. ^ "Germaine Koh | Centre A Library | TinyCat". Centre A Library. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  48. ^ "Germaine Koh / Stall | Centre A Library | TinyCat". Centre A Library. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  49. ^ "Overflow: Germaine Koh | Centre A Library | TinyCat". Centre A Library. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  50. ^ "Open hours: Germaine Koh | Centre A Library | TinyCat". Centre A Library. Retrieved 2019-04-28.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cook, Sarah; Miessen, Markus; Koh, Germaine (2013). Germaine Koh : Weather Systems. [Kamloops, British Columbia]: Kamloops Art Gallery. p. 39 pages : illustrations (colour) ; 38 cm. ISBN 9781895497816. OCLC 829422055.
  • Kingwell, Mark (2008). Opening Gambits: Essays on Art and Philosophy. Toronto: Key Porter Books. pp. 116–117. ISBN 978-1-55470-073-8.

External links[edit]