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.