Lewis Koch plays at the borders of the incomprehensible and the inexplicable. A open-air staircase seems to lead only to the sky; the question mark on a cart aptly remarks on its own mysterious placement at the center of a frozen lake; the view from a curtained window reveals the backward lettering of “YES”; on the glass floating in an inky night. Indeed, Koch’s gelatin-silver photographs often make use of odd or unexpected fragments of signage and found text to intensify the unsettling sensation of being radically out of place. Not merely quirky or coincidental, these single words or full phrases confront the viewer with all the authority of labels and directives, at once creating and commenting on the scene’s tension.
Koch is a two-time National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient with recent shows at Espace Countretype, Brussels; OK Harris, New York; Scott Nichols Gallery, San Francisco; and Flatfile Gallery, Chicago. His work is held in the permanent collections of numerous institutions worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington, DC; Kongelige Biblioteket, Copenhagen; Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, India; and Maison Europienne de la Photographie, Paris.