My Quiet of Gold
The Kyrgyzstan Series
2006 –2011

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About the series

text by
Dragana Vujanovic,
curator Hasselblad Center
Pauline Benthede,
curator Fotografiska

Photographs from a journey to Kyrgyzstan are the focus of Cooper & Gorfer´s, My Quiet of Gold. Kyrgyzstan is a country with a strong tradition of storytelling where folk tales are part of everyday life. Cooper & Gorfer approached the culture by allowing the people they met to stage and reenact their own stories. Cooper & 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 & Gorfer carefully direct choreographed productions. The time they invest in creating a picture can be likened to that of a painter in a studio. – DV


In My Quiet of Gold, women’s destinies are described via the re-enactment of mythical figures from Kyrgyzstan’s history. Shola is one of many women in the country who have been victims of organised kidnappings, an illegal yet traditional act by men when choosing a wife. Shola was studying mathematics at university when she was coerced into a destructive marriage. She eventually chose to leave her husband. Though free from her marriage, she became shameful in the eyes of the community because she had left. Cooper & Gorfer photographed Shola over several days as different characters within Kyrgyz folklore. In the image Shola and the Cat, Shola’s fate is interwoven with ancient Kyrgyz tales. Fiction and reality are fused. – PB

Venues below: Hasselblad Center 2011 / Gestalten Space 2011 / Västerås Konstmuseum 2012 / Dunkers Kulturhus 2015 / Strandverkets Konsthall 2014

Selected works