press release

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 28, 6-8pm

Ian Cooper explores the collapse of fiction and reality through the dissection of contemporary film, construction of meticulous sculptural scenarios, and elaborate prints and drawings that break down complex information into symbols, icons, and systems. In addressing the tenuous balance between these two worlds, interrelated themes involving implausible logic structure, obsessions with telecommunication, and the desperation caused in group association and identification also emerge.

Child-actress Heather O’ Rourke played the role of Carol Anne Freeling in all three Poltergeist films (a fact which is engraved on the outside of her crypt). For Cooper, O’ Rourke epitomizes the leading role young women have played throughout the history of spirit communication (and telecommunication). In fiction, she is presented as a darling American daughter and a consummate conduit to the spirit world. In reality, she starred in these films, and then succumbed to death at age 13, while shooting the final installment. By appropriating and re-photographing a publicity still of O’Rourke and attaching what appears to be a “personal” note from the actress in Love, Heather, 2003, (an artwork within the larger installation, Wake, 2002-2004), Cooper alludes to the parallel trajectories which bind Heather to Carol Anne. This also speaks to the level of alienation that often fosters the fictionalization of “friends” through the obsession with characters in film.

Capturing the transitory moment which unifies certainty with illusion also enables the artist to employ childhood rules of invention. “Intuitive devices, like the whole idea of the cup with the string and another cup…” says Cooper “…are an illustration of something, and thereby when kids are building things like that, they know it should work, because it looks like it should work.” His fascination with these reductive or iconic systems has resulted in sculptural works which use extracted props, sets, or scenarios from Hollywood coming-of-age films as springboards. Once reconfigured and transposed through the artist’s own idiosyncratic logic structure into a “real” sculptural realm, the bricolage-inspired communication device from E.T.; the exposed wishing well in The Goonies; and Carol Anne’s mirrored bedroom wall from Poltergeist III, each take on new visual dimensions and meta-functions. The pieces, Troy’s Bucket, 2005, and Otherside, 2005, both play with perceptions of above vs. below (or in front vs. behind) to explore the concept of feeling trapped on the “other” side; while cinematic split-screen effects used in the video, Constellations Align (BFF) & Constellations Align (GFF), 2005 explore cosmic loneliness, the longing for connection, and the cliché of “true love” locked within the video art trope confines of the continuous loop. (cont.)

Dualities are further explored by incorporating both machine and hand-made elements, fabricated by the artist or by others. In Closed Circuit Faith Device, 2004 – 2005, Cooper provided both new and vintage machine-made fabrics, as well as intricate patterns and instructions for the manufacturing of the sculpture’s foundation. In Troy’s Bucket, 2005, the artist stitched together a custom-silkscreen fieldstone pattern on canvas to create the form of the wishing well, while commissioning a custom-knitted, black-on-black varsity sweater as another element in the piece.

Other materials and chosen imagery used to create his manufactured states of hyper-reality reflect an obsession with current spirit and telecommunications devices and their antecedents, including: a skull shape fashioned from 200 feet of tangled telephone wire, die-cut pixilated web-cam images, silkscreen nylon phone jacks; and channeling accoutrements such as candles and pentagrams. Throughout his exploration of darkness, the artist’s deft choice of materials de-stigmatizes the macabre sting of his work and encourages closer examination. Cooper’s juxtaposition of new and old, fantasy and reality, handmade and high tech, reveals an aesthetic and consciousness which has less to do with feasibility and more to do with nuance of meaning. In the end, his work both venerates and exposes the futility of attempting to transcend reality, in the hopes of unearthing a greater truth embedded in the cliché of cinematic structure.

Artist's Bio

Ian Cooper was born in 1978 and raised in New York City. He received a B.S. in Studio Art from New York University in 2000.

Recent group exhibitions include Let the Bullshit Run A Marathon at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, 2004; Black Milk: Theories on Suicide at Marvelli Gallery, New York, 2004; I Am The Resurrection at Locust Projects, Miami, 2004; Video (Por)Traits at Art In General, New York, 2004; Attack! The Kult 48 Klubhouse at Deitch Projects Brooklyn, New York, 2003 and Teenage Rebel: The Bedroom Show at Agnes B. Galerie du Jour, Paris, 2003.

Curator's Bio

Video and installation artist Sue de Beer completed her MFA from Columbia University in 1998, and a BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York City in 1995.

She currently has a solo exhibition entitled Sue de Beer: Black Sun at the Whitney Museum at Altria, in New York City, curated by Shamim M. Momin. The exhibition represents the artist's first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. Other video installations currently on view include, The Dark Hearts in the Greater New York survey exhibition at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, New York, and Hans & Grete in Regarding Terror: The RAF Exhibition at Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Germany, which will travel to Graz, Austria. De Beer was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and has exhibited widely at venues such as The New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Whitney Museum of American Art in

New York, the Reina Sophia National Museum Art Centre in Madrid, the Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) in Los Angeles, amongst others.

Sue de Beer is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York and Sandroni Rey Gallery in Los Angeles.

only in german

Ian Cooper
Kurator: Sue de Beer