For Kate Cooper's first institutional exhibition Rigged, this year's winner of the Schering Stiftung Art Award has produced a new work comprising of video and photographic production specifically for KW Institute for Contemporary Art.
Through an extensive use of CGI techniques commercial photography and post-production, the show Rigged highlights the labor inherent in the creation of images, looking at the position the female body has occupied in the history of digital image technology. Through the creation and re-rendering of images of the body, Cooper asks how these digital figures might perform in our place made real as downloadable, ultra-realized bodies.
Cooper is interested in the fictional spaces of universally understood advertising images, tests our experience of them and relationship to them and thus openly questions our conceptions of gender and labor they collectively generate. Rigged explores new possible connections between bodies and images, and presents tensions between presence and invisibility. As digital images become our body doubles – expensive yet unpaid figures performing on our behalf – the labor inherent in these modes of production becomes re-focused in an economy of withdrawal. Our own bodies use a strategy of refusal; and camouflage as a technique of survival.
As Cooper states: "In our post-representational world – where images are dislocated and free-floating across networks – how can we renegotiate an agency to images, imbue them with power, make them work for us?"
Rigged displays the human being itself as a commercial good, the billboard-sized figures, installed throughout the space, focus on the body as a place for communicating ideas; re-coding and re-configuring new meanings. As the rendered images become disturbingly realistic, Cooper's doppelgangers surround the observer in their muted formations, and narrate their own illusionary potential, which is more permanent than flesh.
Curated by Ellen Blumenstein.
The exhibition Kate Cooper: Rigged. Schering Stiftung Art Award is a collaboration between the Ernst Schering Foundation and KW Institute for Contemporary Art.
Kindly supported by the British Council.
Extended until February 15, 2015