Se Oh: Elegies

January 20 - March 30, 2024

Stroll Garden is pleased to present “Elegies,” a two-part solo exhibition of Korean-American artist Se Oh. Featuring over sixty new porcelain sculptures punctuated with multi-sensory and ritualistic performances, this narrative exhibition explores the intimate relationships and histories that can be drawn between senses, mediums, ceremonies, and spiritual lineages. “Elegies” marks Stroll Garden’s first collaboration with Se Oh and will showcase the most ambitious and experiential showings of the artist’s practice to date.



Adopted from South Korea in 1984 and raised in West Tennessee, Oh focuses on the liminality of his identity as an adopted Korean-American who assimilated into American culture at a very young age. “I grew up in a conservative Christian home, where there are definitive lines drawn between what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’,” says Oh. “As I grew up and found my agency as a queer kid, my prescribed Christian values began to align with me less and less. I quickly abandoned the need for a higher power’s love and validation, for my fate was set in stone according to the belief systems I was raised in. My relationship with death began with my parents mourning my eternal life. You could feel the anxiety they carried for the ‘choice’ I had made. As a gay man, I would never be admitted into the gates of heaven. From the moment they realized my truth, the fear held for their child was palpable. This triggered me to kill many parts of myself in order to survive as a queer adoptee, transplanted into not only American Southern culture, but also living within the ‘Bible Belt’. By the time I reached my early twenties, I was a master at killing the parts of myself that didn’t serve me. This skill was born from necessity in my adolescence, but later, had transformed into a tool I still use to this day – a tool to clear out what doesn’t serve me to make room for new. Whether it be habits, relationships, ideologies, my ability to experience death and rebirth in this waking life has and will always be my greatest achievement.”



Divided in two distinct chapters, “Elegies” aims to create a space where people can come and reflect on the inevitable cycle we are all part of, a brief moment to simultaneously embrace death with one arm and welcome rebirth with the other.



The exhibition’s first chapter will unveil over sixty hand-thrown porcelain vessels lining the gallery walls. Each vessel, based on Korean burial ceramics, represents a specific touch point in one’s life where something is replaced or evolves.