Cooper & Gorfer consists of the two artists Sarah Cooper (USA, 1974) and Nina Gorfer (Austria, 1979). With their backgrounds in art, architecture, graphic design and photography they began their collaboration in 2006. Their work belongs to a narrative tradition within photography, with roots in 18th and 19th century painting. Alongside their art projects Cooper & Gorfer also work as editorial and commercial photographers. They are now living and working in Göteborg, Sweden.
On thursday their exhibition My Quiet of Gold will be presented at Gestalten Space in Berlin. Looking forward to see them in reality.
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.