Can't Help My Self

October 7, 2021November 11, 2021

Hein Koh’s exhibition title “Can't Help My Self” refers to the idea that no matter how much one tries to engage in self-improvement, one essentially can’t be helped. The title connotes compulsion, the idea that one lacks conscious control over their actions. She emphasizes on the idea of self as an individuated entity by splitting the word “myself”. It serves as a humorous statement of self-acceptance. Hein Koh’s images come to her when she focuses on a feeling. Sketches may become drawings and then paintings. She works quickly and urgently.

The broccoli woman, which is the protagonist in her work, is a character developed from a smoking broccoli sculpture she created in 2019. Affected by the anxiety and darkness caused by the pandemic, Hein Koh shifted from sculpture to painting resulting in the formation of broccoli woman.

As broccoli, the quintessential healthy vegetable, she represents the standards of perfection that women are measured by. However, she can’t help herself - she smokes, drinks and engages in unladylike behavior. This way, she is given the freedom to “be” and feel. Smoking and drinking are symbols of escape, reflection and meditation. She is merely a vehicle to express collective and universal feelings. The broccoli woman is just being human, therefore, her “self”.