Germaine Koh

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Germaine Koh
Born1967 (age 50–51)
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 studied fine arts and art history 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)

Koh's work has been shown at many galleries, including the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in 2005, the Liverpool Biennial and the Art Gallery of Alberta in 2004, Frankfurter Kunstverein in 2003, Bloomberg SPACE in 2003, and in many other galleries across the globe.[citation needed]

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]

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]

Major exhibitions[edit]


  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. ^ Staff writer(s. "Germain Koh about around". Gallery One One One. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  12. ^ Staff writer(s). "Germaine Koh". Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver). Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  13. ^ Staff writer(s). "Germaine Koh". BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  14. ^ Laurence, Robin (December 16, 2013). "Germaine Koh: Weather Systems". Canadian Art. Retrieved March 8, 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]