Although i tend to spend most of my time inside every single branch of Sephora when i’m in New York, i got to see some pretty interesting exhibitions while i was there. Daneyal Mahmood Gallery is hosting until June 14 an arresting installation and series of photographies by Justine Cooper.
Cooper has an unquestionable interest for science. The Australian artist is known for having spent one year snooping around the storerooms of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
According to an interview she gave to Trace blog, the Terminal portraits she is currently exhibiting are inspired by the formal portraitists of the late 19th century and by the scientific work of Bernice Abbott. The stars of Cooper’s photographs are medical mannequins (just like Tomer Ganihar‘s hospital series) and robots. Highly sophisticated, they have been designed to simulate human traumas for training doctors and surgeons.
During her research, the artist found that the personnel charged with the care of the mannequins had humanized these objects into subjects by calling them Sally, Peter, Charles or Mandy. They dress them as if they were about to leave for the Bahamas and even construct a narrative through their care.
Also on show, RAPT I is a computer animation created 10 years ago from hundreds of images produced when Cooper voluntarily underwent six hours of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanning (video). RAPT II is a fascinating installation comprised of 76 of the MRI axial scans, printed on architectural film, suspended and aligned to create a 24 foot long floating body. I found very distressing the idea that i was able to pass my hand between the slices of her body.
Rapt II, Detail, 1998
Rapt is what the artist calls a universal Self Portrait, originally posing the question of if and how new technologies shift the way we can conceive of space, by presenting us with an alternate, elastic interpretation of the body.. “Just as the body is re-codified through medical technology, so its internal spaces and brute physicality are remapped and made accessible in these works. Living flesh is translated into malleable data”
The exhibition is on view at Daneyal Mahmood Gallery until June 14, 2008.