“How hard it is to digest one’s fellow men! First principle: to summon one’s courage as in misfortune, to fall to boldly, to admire oneself in the process, to grit one’s teeth on one’s repugnance, and to swallow one’s nausea. (Friedrich Nietzsche)”, Beginning in the later 1980s Cody Choi impetuously fabricated his own visceral legend. Now, near the end of the second decade of the 21st century, he stares himself down as it creates him back. Choi relocated with his family from Seoul, Korea, to the U.S. at the age of 22, and his story is founded in the collision and fragmentation of cultures, in the disturbance, sublimation and reallocation of a shifted sexuality, and in the ironic armament he musters to wage surrogate war with the titanic period icons of Western visual culture – classical Greek sculpture, Michelangelo, Auguste Rodin. Choi’s career-long investigation turns on the symbolic weight, moral burden, cultural achievements and social costs of the “economic miracle” achieved in South Korea during the artist’s lifetime, beginning in the decade following the end of the Korean War in 1953. – John C. Welchman, 2017
This is a conception of space that is territorial and not symbolic. When I look at Cody Choi’s paintings I see the dark space of the army blankets as a territory in dispute, as the site of a war of cultures. Here, various culture-specific poetic systems battle it out. I would assume then that this is what the viewer on either side of the ocean will discern: that these paintings are views of an unstable world - a dyspeptic universe. – Mike Kelley, 1992.