Appellation: What’s in a name?

By giving something or someone a name, we seek to identify and classify. With wine, appellation is used to identify where grapes for a wine were grown. In a similar way, art is often given a name, be it through a title for an individual work or by being classified as part of a ‘genre’. Appellation in the art world is perhaps less regulatory but nonetheless seeks to classify and somehow control.

Why is this? Perhaps because people tend to feel more comfortable when they can give something a label or a name. “What kind of art do you do?” What does that question mean? Are we talking about medium? Subject matter? Price? Is there just one answer? Art, like wine, is so subjective. Must the viewer decide?

Much of this process of identification derives from the way we perceive and express ourselves. Factors and conditions that an individual is born with all play a role in defining one’s identity and that of people and things around us. And yet, many aspects of a person’s identity change throughout his or her life. Experiences change us and change our perceptions.

Ros Koch’s work explores these concepts of name, origin and identity. She challenges and interrogates labels and borders, real or imaginary, that people invent to feel more secure. And how these change over time. This retrospective collection of her work follows her own personal journey of changing identities, as well as those of others, emphasizing that identity is fluid and shifts throughout one’s life.

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