Proof of Existence

Proof of Existence

Brendan George Ko

From July 4th to July 26th
Opening July 4th, 2014 from 6-9pm

What separates the portrait of a person standing before a site of destination is the significance of that moment captured. What does that action of posing before the site represent? If the photograph serves to prove one’s existence then it is proof that a person made it to a place, similar to the photograph of the person holding today’s newspaper serves to prove they are alive. It is the purpose that drives the photograph that separates it from the image of the tourist waving to the camera. It is the very difference between the traveler and the tourist: which experience is more authentic.

To my father returning to China was both an act of confronting as well as finally making his return. Here he was on his journey home, after five decades. The photograph of him there, and in the years to pass, will exemplifies his return, that his body was planted in place in the physical space that was forbidden, too far away, and unattainable. But the photograph is only a representation to this moment, supplementary to his experience and there as proof. The one moment out of much more, it is a tiny splinter of life — there as a guide, and nothing more.

Brendan George Ko is a visual storyteller that works in photography, video, installation, text, and sound. Born in Toronto and raised in New Mexico and Texas, he currently resides Toronto, and calls the Hawai’ian island, Maui, his second home. His work is about conveying a sense of experience through storytelling and describes the image as supplementary to the story it represents. In 2010, Ko received his BFA from Ontario College of Art & Design where he majored in photography, and in addition he practiced sculpture and curation. During his time in the Masters in Visual Arts programme at the University of Toronto his practice shifted into video and sound with the guidance of Kim Tomczak. Ko’s work has been included in such events as The Magenta Foundation’s annual photography exhibition and publication, Flash Forward, the juried exhibition Hey! Hot Shot by Jen Bekman in New York City, and in numerous auctions such as ACT’s Snap! Live Auction, Buddies in Bad Times' Art Attack Auction, and Youthline’s Line Art Auction. In addition he has been commissioned by The Hospital for SickKids and the Harbourfront Centre.