Arctic Exposure: Photographs of Canada's North

TERENCE KOH: tomorrow's snow and a way to the light

June 6 to 13, 2014

World Premieres by Terence Koh. Produced and commissioned as part of the Luminato Festival.

A bus to the McMichael Gallery will leave nightly at 7 pm SHARP from the steps of the Metro Centre Wellington Tower, 200 Wellington Street and will return downtown after the event. Buy tickets for the shuttle here. Additional programming will be presented at 8:15PM, and the McMichael Collection will have extended opening hours until 9PM on performance evenings. 

Terence Koh - tomorrow's snowtomorrow’s snow, an ephemeral yet enduringly powerful new concept by Beijing-born, Canadian-raised artist Terence Koh, began to take shape a year ago with a poetic email from Koh to Luminato Festival Artistic Director Jorn Weisbrodt.


deer jorn,” he wrote, “I just had an idea for the piece at the luminato festival. its based on a margaret atwood novel i remember reading when i was 8 years old. take a public square in toronto that has trees in it. fill the plaza with tapiaco powder so it looks like freshly fallen snow in summer. have an 8-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl holding hands and dressed simply in all white. they make snow angels for eight minutes.


The tree-filled “plaza” envisioned by Koh is at the elegant grounds of Kleinburg’s McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Each evening, preceded by events in the gallery’s foyer, Koh’s magical flight of fancy briefly becomes reality, before disappearing into the landscape, as snow angels do.


a way to the light, located in the Artists’ Cemetery, is a tribute to Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr. These commissions are Koh’s first solo showing in Canada and mark the debut of a new phase of his work.


“I used to do sculptures and sound pieces but now I’m just trying to be. A lot of these things I’m doing don’t require a studio. It’s just me being myself and asking questions. I think it’s important for me to be as immaterial as possible. And maybe in this immateriality there’s spirituality, and maybe in this spirituality there is humanity.”


About Terence Koh

Terence Koh’s oeuvre employs a diverse range of media, including drawing, sculpture, video, performance and the internet (Koh’s web presence is his longest continuous artwork to date). Originally working under the alias asianpunkboy, Koh designed zines and custom-made books, quickly cultivating a dedicated following. By 2004, Koh was creating work under his real name and had developed a public persona of enigmatic behavior—the artist wears only white, lives in an all white environment, writes in a cryptically poetic way and is intentionally unclear on such basic biographical details as his date of birth and his childhood home. But, as the writer Agustín Pérez Rubio points out, “Koh’s creativity is not about the construction of a character. Rather, it is an act of political or social relevance with an ever-growing surrounding collective subconscious…his stances on art and life find expression inside the art world but at the same time want to subvert it.” Koh’s recent work has grown to include durational performances and complex large-scale installations. Whilst the influence of his artistic forebears—including Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys and James Lee Byars—is often cited, Koh has developed what is clearly one of the most important and original voices to have emerged at the beginning of the 21st century.


Koh’s work was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial and the 2008 Yokohama Triennial. In 2008, he was a finalist for the Sobey Award. He was the subject of solo exhibitions at MUSAC, León, Spain (2008); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany (2008); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2007); Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2006) and the Vienna Secession, Austria (2005) amongst others. His work is in the permanent collections of such notable institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Tate Modern, London, England. Forthcoming projects include a major monograph being published by Rizzoli and a solo exhibition at the Museum of Chinese in America, New York.


Terence Koh lives and works in New York.


About Luminato Festival


Luminato Festival is Toronto’s international multi-arts festival for people open to having art change their outlook on the world. For 10 days each June, Luminato Festival transforms Toronto’s theatres, parks and public spaces with hundreds of events celebrating theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, magic, film, and more.


Luminato Festival is a charitable, not-for-profit, cultural organization whose vision is to commission and present significant local, national, and international programming that reflects Toronto as a crossroads of ideas, cultures and traditions. Now in its 8th year, Luminato Festival has become one of North America’s leading arts festivals. The Luminato Festival runs June 6-15, 2014. 


Luminato Festival gratefully acknowledges the generous support and vision of its Founding Luminaries, SuperNova donors, and Patron Circle Members. The Festival would not be possible without the support of our Partner in Creativity, L’Oréal Canada. Luminato Festival also proudly acknowledges the support of its Founding Government Partner, the Province of Ontario, as well as the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, and the Ontario Arts Council.


Luminato Festival

Photo by Victoria Schwarzl

Share this page.