The spirit world drives brushes – Ko Ko Gyi’s solo exhibition ‘Food of Thinking-Food for Thought’ Ko Ko Gyi

Ko Ko Gyi


Nov 02 - Nov 16, 2019


Written by Yuki Kitazumi, Translated by AURA Art

He expresses something that erupts from the bottom of his mind, not superficial things. Ko Ko Gyi, a psychologist, paints a picture of his own inner self. It is an abstract painting that is not logical, it is like tapping on a canvas inside of a mind that is not possible to be translated as a painting. The 'Food for Thought' exhibition in which hard-to-explain art was held in the Myanm/art gallery on November 2nd.

  • Simple abstract paintings with many elements by Ko Ko Gyi.

Contradictory thoughts condensed into one painting.

Ko Ko Gyi's work is characterized by a symbol that is strongly depicted using a thick brush on top of a background that fills the canvas. Depending on the work, another brushstroke may be added. Is this a picture, a letter, or a symbol? If you ask Mr. Ko Ko Gyi carefully, you will probably find that it is not any of them.

  • Untitled, 94cm x 94cm, acrylic painting, 2017.

  • Advanced Aurora, 94cm x 94cm, acrylic painting, 2019.

For example, a large circle is painted last at the end of the work. As Ko Ko Gyi commented, "The circle represents a state of satisfaction", and he added, "I have been imprisoned as a political prisoner. For me, the circle means imprisonment and being in prison" - so, satisfaction and imprisonment. Instead of trying to organize the contradictory elements in one's own mind forcibly, one puts them freely into one expression as they are. The human mind contains a contradictions. So, what is expressed may come across as a contradiction, but it is only natural to feel that way.

  • From the above: 'A story of Dreams', 'Eternal Forgiveness', and 'Sweet Memories'.

The thick, strongly painted symbolic lines and curves attract people's eyes. Some have a sense of stability from the regular lines in the squares and the vertical and horizontal lines, while others have a stronger feeling from the overlapping of diagonal lines with powerful momentum. The color usage for the background and the lines placed on it are also impressive. "The combination of colors is more important than the color itself", Ko Ko Gyi says.

  • Spiritual Windows, 94cm x 94cm, acrylic painting, 2019.

Activities based in Mandalay

Born in 1937, Ko Ko Gyi experienced war fires from the Japanese invasion of Burma during World War II. He reportedly had the experience of studying in an air-raid shelter. Although he missed the opportunity to receive formal education, he studied painting under artists such as Ba Yin Galay and Ba Thet. Interested in the inner world, Ko Ko Gyi subsequently studied psychology at the University of Mandalay and he also studied in Hungary. Until now, he has worked in Mandalay, and his simple, powerful, yet profound painting style has had a great influence on abstract painters in Myanmar.

  • Mr. Ko Ko Gyi also experienced World War II fires.

One of Myanmar's artists, who has exhibited at the same exhibition as Ko Ko Gyi, says, "He does not depict what actually exists, but paints and expresses what comes to his mind. That's very difficult". "We're trying to be able to express", Ko Ko Gyi said about the complex minds that might have been created from complex backgrounds and environments. It may be because he, as a psychologist, has mastered the discipline of logically explaining the movements of a person's mind that he has found a part that cannot fit in with that logic. A complicated psychology, yet to be expressed, must be sleeping in his heart.


'Food of Thinking -Food for Thought'

November 2nd to November 16th, 2019
会 場
G-42 Urban Asia Centre, 48th Street, Middle Block, Botataung, Yangon
電 話

Editor: Yuki Kitazumi