KOO JEONG A (they/them) is constantly in orbit, living and working everywhere. In their practice, architectural elements, texts, drawings, paintings, sculptures, animations, sound, film, words, and scents play a significant role. Throughout the years, KOO has investigated and blurred the lines between their artwork and the space it occupies. The works add new layers to any given space, and KOO manages to merge small intimate experiences and large-scale immersive pieces.

The curatorial approach for the Korean Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia has been to combine some of the key subjects and sculptural elements that KOO JEONG A has worked with during the last three decades. With the new commission ODORAMA CITIES, created especially for the Korean Pavilion, KOO delves into the nuances of our spatial encounters, investigating how we perceive and recollect spaces, with a particular emphasis on how scents, smells, and odors contribute to these memories. With the pavilion itself, KOO explores an expanded tactility.
Some of the prominent interests in KOO’s art, such as immaterialism, weightlessness, endlessness, and levitation, are keywords mirrored throughout the Korean Pavilion. They are embedded and engraved as infinity symbols directly into both the new wooden floor and the outdoor installations, are manifested as two floating wooden möbius-shaped sculptures and a levitating, scent-diffusing bronze figure, and finally are symbolized in the scents that transform the pavilion into a collection of olfactory memories.

These scent memories are a cornerstone in ODORAMA CITIES. During the summer of 2023, KOO collected them with the aim of making a scent portrait of the Korean peninsula. Through social media, advertisements, press releases, and personal one-on-one meetings, the team behind the Korean Pavilion has reached out to North and South Koreans and non-Koreans alike – anyone who has a relationship to Korea – and asked the question: “What is your scent memory of Korea?” This open call has generated more than 600 written statements about Korean scents. The perfumers, armed with the stories and keywords, took on the task of interpreting and incorporating them into the creation of 16 distinct scent experiences for the pavilion and a single commercial fragrance.