Koo Stark has unveiled her first solo exhibition in London for 23 years, called Kintsugi, being held at Leica Mayfair in London until 26th May 2017.
Kintsugi is a chronological, visual representation of Koo’s powerful and personal photographs, capturing fleeting moments during the last three decades of her fascinating and eventful life. The exhibition showcases a varied collection of Koo’s work from the 1980s to the early 2000s, covering many genres and subject matters: from her early reportage, formal studio portraiture, a series of nudes, and recent still life. Using her artist’s eye, daylight, film and camera, Koo shows us moments from travels with her guru, and a captivating new body of work depicting her lifelong interest in yoga. Each of the photographs included in the exhibition has been hand printed in silver or platinum.
Alongside this work, a collection of photographs will depict “who is Koo Stark?” and her relationship with photography in the Leica café. This unique selection incorporates portraits of master photographers captured by Koo, and portraits of Koo herself – taken by her mentor, Norman Parkinson, David Bailey and others. Koo famously shot back at the paparazzi hounding her during the 1980s and indeed was the first “unwilling celebrity” to turn the camera lens back on the press. Her powerful images of paparazzi were instrumental in the passing of new privacy protection laws in the UK.
What Is Kintsugi?
Kintsugi is a method of repairing and breathing new life into a person, place or thing that was otherwise broken. In developing her approach to art, Koo has recently been working exclusively in the Kintsugi genre. This is reflective of her Buddhist philosophy evolving from many years listening to the teachings of, and travelling with, her guru – His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She believes that the voyage of life is precious. Even damage, breakage and loss can be transformed into wisdom, joy and healing. Kintsugi method uses precious materials like silver platinum and gold to repair and highlight the unique history and rarity of a person, place or thing that has not only survived but been transformed through life’s shattering events, gaining valuable wisdom. Koo uses silver, platinum and gold to hand print her Kintsugi photographs, and Kintsugi philosophy in her approach to the frailty of the human condition. Her own well-known battles with injustice and cancer are testament to this.
Koo explains, “Kintsugi is intuitive and counter-intuitive all at once. It’s a paradox; a way of learning to see individual beauty, and to appreciate the value of experience and honesty. It is the antithesis of digital, airbrushed, Photoshop-homogenised ‘beauty’ – a method of portraying and visualising people and objects as they truly are, were and have become through the vicissitudes of life: perfect in imperfection. My Leica M has been essential in capturing images in this intimate style. It has allowed me to approach my subjects in a discreet and authentic way, to get much closer, while ensuring utmost privacy and integrity.”
The Kintsugi exhibition will be open for public viewing until 26th May 2017, Monday to Saturday, from
10 am – 6 pm at Leica Mayfair, 27 Bruton Place, London W1J 6NQ. Images shown are for sale.