June 17 - October 15 2017
An exhibition of portraits by Cooper & Gorfer showing women in Sápmi, their narrative, dreams and heritage.
In collaboration with Konstmuseet i Norr the artist duo Cooper & Gorfer have explored the contemporary context of broken timelines through a strong and confronting portrait series where women within the Sami culture* stand in focus. The exhibition is shown during the summer and autumn 2017 at the Museum of Womens History.
During a cold winters’ travel to Sápmi, in the northern most region of Sweden, Cooper & Gorfer interviewed and collaborated with Sami women of varied ages, staging and visualising their stories and circumstances. Instead of depicting their findings objectively, Cooper & Gorfer transform their impressions into picturesque hybrid images, illustrating the reflections and statements that emerge from their interviews. Layer upon layer of symbolism and narrative blur the realism of the photograph. The images are at times broken into parts and rearranged into an enigmatic, fragmented and exaggerated ensemble. Observable reality is strained through a complex psychological filter of dreams, moods, fears and wounds. Many of the portraits were photographed behind a sheet of glass, introducing a physical and permanent layer of disruption and interference. This layer remains dormant, mostly invisible, to then suddenly reveal itself, hiding or shielding parts of the women portrayed.
The theme interruptions penetrates every aspect of this project. From the cultural and political interventions that have violated and shaped the Sami culture, to the very personal ruptures of the women portrayed. A mother’s custody dispute for her little daughter, a young girl’s fight against cancer, or an elderly Sami woman´s memories of discrimination. As a whole, the project seeks to interrelate these personal tremors with the political and cultural interruptions that still impact the Sami identity today.
/Sarah Cooper & Nina Gorfer
The work has also resulted in the newly produced book Interruptions.The book is available to purchase during the exhibition.
*The Sami are the Indigenous people of northern Europe. The area, Sápmi, stretches from Norway, Sweden, Finland to the Kola Peninsula.
Cooper & Gorfer consists of the two artists Sarah Cooper (USA‚ 1974) and Nina Gorfer (Austria,1979). Cooper & Gorfer, whose collaboration began in 2006, live and work in Gothenburg and Berlin. Their work holds distinct reference to art history, myths and cultural heritage. Cooper & Gorfer’s works have been shown in several solo exhibitions, i.e. at Hasselblad Center Gothenburg, Kulturhuset Stockholm, Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt, CODA Museum of Contemporary Art Apeldoorn, The National Museum of Photography Copenhagen and at The DDC, 798 Art District, Beijing. They have published four books: SEEK Volume 01, Iceland, My Quiet of Gold, The Weather Diaries (all Gestalten Verlag) and Interruptions (Thames & Hudson).
Cooper & Gorfer is represented by gallery in Stockholm.