Artist information See art by SEO on the walls of this hotel
Born as Sook Kyong in 1977, SEO lived in Gwanjiu, Korea where she underwent classical training at Cho-Sun University. During that time, SEO also undertook intensive study of Chinese and Korean watercolour techniques, passing her examinations as the best student of the year.
In 2001, seeking new forms of expression in painting, SEO relocated to Berlin. There, she studied at the University of the Arts under Georg Baselitz (artist at art'otel berlin mitte), who was a major influence on her work. Baselitz encouraged SEO to return to her roots, and since 2003, she has been painting in a unique way, using a material wholly familiar with everyday life in Korea—handmade hanji rice paper. Sent specially to her studio in Berlin, the paper is available in all colours and is torn into strips before being affixed to primed canvases using the special glue favoured by art restorers. Afterward, SEO paints over the strips with acrylic paint. The coloured paper strips, numbering at least 10,000 for each work and consisting of no less than five layers, form the motifs of her large-scale pictures. SEO uses more than 791 different colours, and each relates to a certain number, most of which she knows by heart. Due to her passion for the paintings of the Romantic movement (e.g., those of Caspar David Friedrich) and her many landscapes, SEO is often called a Neo-romantic.
SEO's roots in art history are broad and complex. In her pictures, elements of French 19th-century painting, German Romanticism, Austrian Art Nouveau, and both American and European Modernism are mixed with traditional Eastern subjects. SEO’s passionate identification with nature and opposition to environmental destruction and climate change culminate in works of paradisiacal scenes that no longer exist or never existed at all. Through the destruction of the rice paper she uses, she constructs, she reconstructs and then she restores a new world composed of elements from the old one. Not by chance are the rice-paper strips reminiscent of the technique used by restorers of paintings who secure and protect old pictures against further decay by using fish glue and rice paper. Though at first sight they are cheerfully coloured and decorative, a subtle melancholy runs through SEO’s paintings. She holds fast to history and to traditions, linking them with the present, joining East and West, and thus the whole globe. SEO's particular subject is water—the river that flows into the ocean and links everything together.
Reserve your stay at this Cologne hotel to be surrounded by SEO art and to be inspired by the beauty of her subjects.