— Cooper & Gorfer

Over the past two and a half years (2012-2014) we have worked with the art and fashion scene of the West Nordic Islands for the 3rd Nordic Fashion Biennale, for which we were commissioned to curate and create a photographic exhibition interpreting fashion from Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. (We have posted some of the behind the scenes of the travels and collaborations last fall). On March 22nd the exhibition opened at the Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt. Entitled The Weather Diaries, the exhibition offers an inspiring and aesthetic experience, uniting the works of many of the most talented designers from the West Nordic islands. It is a symbiotic exhibition of 11 one of a kind installations, that together with 27 photographic art works by us, take you closer into the creativity stemming from the islands of the North.

The Weather Diaries
Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt
March 22nd – September 21st 2014

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Works from the Argentina series “I Know not These My Hands”
and a preview of “The Weather Diaries”, Nordic Fashion Biennale

At Christian Larsen
Hudviksvallsgatan 8, Stockholm
21/02/2014 – 30/03/2014


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In the series I Know Not These My Hands, Argentina’s self-image is marked by centuries of unhealed wounds; the brutal colonization that wiped out the native population in the 1800′s, and the merciless military coup in the 1970′s that traumatized generations of parents and children. Today, Argentina is a nation in perpetual search of identity. Sometimes Cooper & Gorfer’s references are apparent, as in Sewing Girls to Trees, where the children in the images disappear into the environment, or wander away from their mothers, as in Lucy Above Mother. These are metaphors for the stolen children of the murdered Argentineans, those who were kidnapped and grew up on the “other side” of the political frontier. In other works, the references are more general. In Mending Vanessa, the many threads seen in the woman’s costume are there to mend what is torn.

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In The Weather Diaries, nature—harsh and grandiose, reigns supreme. It dominates people’s lives and chisels out small communities that must stick together to survive. The unifying theme running through the cultures of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands is the urge to retain their specific national identity, for better or worse. In Ena with Eyes Shut, the Greenlandic national costume is sewn entirely of glass beads and is tremendously heavy. The costume’s weight is paradoxical; it stands for both, the pride and the restrictions that surround tradition and the fear of its loss.

cg_cl40 cg_cl38A selection of works from both series is exhibited at Gallery Christian Larsen, Stockholm until March 30th 2014. “The Weather Diaries” is part of the Nordic Fashion Biennale 2014. It is shown in it’s entirety at Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt, March 22nd to June 22nd 2014.

 

 

 

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We are diligently working on a new and exciting project! The Nordic House Iceland, commissioned us as curators and artists for the upcoming Nordic Fashion Biennale 2014, with focus on the West Nordic. The Biennale will be launched at MAK Frankfurt, this spring. We start off with sharing some behind the scenes from our photographic travels this summer to Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, where we collaborated with selected designers on an elaborate visualisation of their work. More updates on the project, dates, and the showcased designers will follow!

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coopergorferWe are excited to be showing our work in Reykjavik, Iceland this spring. The exhibition will showcase a selection of works from the Volume Series, as well as images from our ongoing series Places in Between. The exhibition is part of the Design March 2013 programme.

The Long Moment
9.march – 21.april 2013
Nordens Hus

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Dunkers Kulturhus in Helsingborg showing a selection of our work spanning the Volumes Iceland, Kyrgyzstan and Qatar, as well as from Places in Between.
June 2012 – February 2013
Dunkers Kulturhus
Helsingborg
Sweden 

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My Quiet of Gold
February 25 – April 22, 2012
Västerås Kulturmuseum

The solo exhibition My Quiet of Gold, with  photographs from a journey to Kyrgyzstan, showing at Västerås Konstmuseum.

 

 

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It was wonderful to have been presented at the Armory Show in New York 2012.

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Our book “My Quiet of Gold” / SEEK Volume 02 Kyrgyzstan has been selected for the Swedish Book Design Prize 2012 and is now officially one of the 25 most beautiful swedish books published 2011.
http://svenskbokkonst.se/ 

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My Quiet of Gold

Show in Berlin 

October 27 – November 27, 2011
Gestalten Space

We are happy to have the opportunity to exhibit our latest project in Berlin at Die Gestalten Space, Sophienstraße 21. For those of you who are in Berlin, the exhibition will be up until November 27th.

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My Quiet of Gold exhibited at Hasselblad Center
25.2.2011 – 15.5.2011 / Gothenburg, Sweden

About the exhibition
by Dragana Vujanovic, curator

Photographs from a journey to Kyrgyzstan are the focus of Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer’s solo exhibition My Quiet of Gold. Kyrgyzstan is a country with a strong tradition of storytelling where folk tales are part of everyday life. Cooper and Gorfer approached the culture by allowing the people they met to stage their own stories. The artists’ personal conversations with people gave rise to the portrayals. The images were digitally processed to create painterly collages, depicting more than one level of reality. Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer’s work stems from a narrative tradition within photography with roots in 19th century painting. Their pictures are imbued with understated drama and an enigmatic tone – a typical characteristic of staged photography in which unpleasant stories are often narrated with a seductive aesthetic. The beautiful picture attracts the viewer, who soon perceives other meanings. Unlike the discrete passer-by who single-handedly waits the decisive moment, Cooper and Gorfer carefully direct choreographed productions. The time they invest in creating a picture can be likened to that of a painter in a studio.

Cooper and Gorfer’s staged folk tales draw a picture of Kyrgyzstan’s contemporary history, creating unique portraits at the same time. The duo avoid making a traditional documentation of the country, instead they describe the culture through a fertile mix of fact and fiction. The images are also indirectly self-portraits of Cooper and Gorfer; picture editing and the selection of stories unveils their own interests and preferences. The image that comes through portrays two socially committed romantics.

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SEEK Volume 02
Kyrgyzstan

We are happy to announce the release of our second book: My Quiet of Gold, SEEK Volume 02 / Kyrgyzstan, launched together with our exhibition My Quiet of Gold at Hasselblad Center in Sweden this spring. Follow us on our travels to the rural areas of Kyrgyzstan where we collected sagas and stories in conversations and interviews with local inhabitants. Out of these tales, are created photographic portraits that go far beyond mere documentation to tell and visually interpret romantic-melancholy stories of love, sorrow, and betrayal. Numerous essays and excerpts accompany the striking images in My Quiet of Gold, giving you behind the scenes, interviews and hopefully a deeper understanding of our travel and way of work.

Available through Die Gestalten

SORRY, SOLD OUT!

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See the interview

Cooper & Gorfer
Interview at Hasselblad Center

Interview by Dragana Vujanovic, curator Hasselblad Center
Film by Conny Fridh and Fredrik Egerstrand

The interview was conducted in correlation with our exhibition My Quiet of Gold at Hasselblad Center, 2011.

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Exhibition at Christian Larsen
Aug 2010 / Under Nomadic Surfaces

The exhibition, Under Nomadic Surfaces, shows a selection of work from two of our series locations, Kyrgyzstan and Qatar. On these journeys we work in parallel as directors, photographers and authors – casting the people we meet into the stories we gather. By focussing on the cognition of the human element, rather than on political, religious or social views, we attempt to bridge the differences between two countries. Places, that despite their disparity, share elemental features: nomadic history, Islamic culture, and almost more importantly, a confrontation with change and an attempt to redefine their identity on the cusp of transformation.

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SEEK Volume 01
Iceland

Our first volume is a heavy visual novel with nine short stories from an autumnal Iceland. A book where fact and fiction are combined – starring a cast of Icelandic characters in fragmented and intricately collaged and conceptual narratives that seamlessly merge into one another. It presents an opaque and desolate mystique of place where personal tales meet history.

Winner of the Swedish Book Art Award 2009

Available through Die Gestalten
SORRY, SOLD OUT!


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Exhibition at Kulturhuset Stockholm
Stockholm, 2008

The exhibition In a House of Snow, showcases 30 works from our first book, SEEK Volume 01 / Iceland, at Kulturhuset Stockholm in 2008. A supremely evocative exhibition, compelling photographs record timeless legends, ghost stories, and personal histories from Iceland. Starring a cast of Icelandic characters the exhibition reveals subtle narratives. In a House of Snow is a body of work with vivid and striking impression, it presents an opaque and desolate mystique where the bizarre meets history.

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