Francesca Cho in Vogue

by Philip Gowman on 19 February, 2009

in Cho, Francesca, Koreans in UK

The mixing tableFebruary’s edition of Vogue Korea has a 6-page feature on the studio space occupied by Korean artists around the world. Francesca Cho is the artist featured for London.

Cho, who stepped down from leading the UK Korean Artists Association at the start of this year, is based at Palace Wharf studios in Fulham. She’s been based there for four years, though she has been in London for 15 years, having come to study at Goldsmiths and Chelsea.

francesca500Vogue describes the quiet West London location, with the flowing river and ever-changing sky giving the artist inspiration as she pauses from her work.

Cho’s studio space, like that of most London artists other than the rich and famous ones, is not generous in size. The little table where she mixes her paints is under the window to give her the important natural light for the proper balance of colour. She surrounds herself with messages and cards from friends from around the world, which gives her a sense of connectedness as she works, while mirrors reflect the light around the room to increase the impression of space.

Red and Green inside the studioHer work is infused with a spirituality that transcends religions (her early focus on the beauty of geometric shapes came from an interest in Pythagoras). And there are occasionally elements of a proud Korean-ness which I’m sure the various government ministries would love to use if they had the sense: some of her earlier student work celebrates the invention of Hangeul, but her current work is much less rooted in her national identity.

Cho’s favoured colours are red and green, so despite the greyness of winter outside when Vogue did the interview, the red paint gives the studio a feeling of energy and warmth, while the green paintings give a feeling of spring. Cho looks forward to the next couple of months, when spring will arrive, and her little window will flood the room with light – a room Vogue describes as her sunny nest or refuge.

Harrods depository from Acava studio terraceThe Vogue photographer was clearly taken with the theme of light and shade, and seemed to enjoy studying the shadows cast by the window frames and fire escapes, thus missing out on the nice view of the Harrods Depository building and Hammersmith bridge from the studio terrace (which is a perfect spot for watching the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race).

Cho is currently preparing for group shows in Islington in March and Lecce (Italy) in April, as well as a project in Seoul later this year. An exhibition in Copenhagen is scheduled for 2010.

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