Critics’ Picks

View of “Hein Koh: Joy & Pain,” 2017. From left: Hope and Sorrow, 2017; Eyes Without a Face, 2017; Eye Mouth Tongue, 2017.


Hein Koh

Platform Gallery
116 West Mulberry Street
May 13–June 24, 2017

By the front window in Hein Koh’s parlor-room exhibition is Three Lonely Hearts, 2017, consisting of lumpy, heart-shaped, spandex cyclopes’ heads cocked to the side, woebegone and piteous. From open-zippered orifices, the heads seem to have emitted glittery, puke-like, bubblegum-pink columns that have since hardened to hold them up. Nearby, The Triangle Twins, 2016, shows two gold creatures, each equipped with two dicks and pointy fingers emerging from shiny wall-bound pillows that read as portals. Two of the four floppy dicks are knotted together on the outside, as if this bond will provide strength or luck for whatever might materialize next. Above a fireplace on the other side of the gallery, Eye Mouth Tongue, 2017, has Betty Boop lips that hold in an eyeball and unleash a lavishly long tongue—a plush slide for the eye should it want a quick, easy trip to the floor.

Our emoji condition, characterized by an attraction to stock expressions, informs Koh’s imagination. In the middle of the gallery is Eyes Without a Face, 2017, two dangling eyeballs crying giant, heavy, teardrop-shaped, iridescent, blue sacks. By the entrance is a small drawing, Sleep Deprivation, 2015, showing a set of bloodshot alien eyes shooting down shafts of liquid grief while two other pairs of weeping eyes float close by, watching with reverence. Ultimately, the artist might be advocating for a much weirder culture than what current norms dictate, one that would embrace big swings of emotion, erotic play, and perversion.