Solo Exhibition by Kate Cooper

Kate Cooper

15 May – 23 June 2019

HENI Project Space, Hayward Gallery, Free

Opening on 15 May, Hayward Gallery presents a solo exhibition by British artist Kate Cooper in the HENI Project Space. Comprised of several recent videos that feature a computer-generated female character, the works in this specially conceived installation are being shown in the UK for the first time.

Cooper’s work centres on the body as a contested space of communication and representation. Utilizing cutting-edge computer-generated technologies and post-production methods to render and remodel images of the body, Cooper’s photo-realistic characters act as both objects and vessels through which to explore ideas of gender, technology and the politics of labour. Challenging the cosmetically ‘perfect’ conventions of the digital body in films, video games, or advertising, Cooper’s figure becomes tired and sick, bleeds and bruises. As harbingers of affect, the liminal bodies become tools with which to unpick contemporary modes of labour and negotiate our own understanding of the effects of capitalism on our physical selves. 

Among the works included in the exhibition are two recent videos, Infection Drivers (2018) and Symptom Machine (2017), which Cooper re-presents for this installation. Exploring the ways in which CG images complicate the separation between subject and object, Infection Drivers (2018) presents a naked figure wearing an inflatable bodysuit that expands and recedes, uncomfortably augmenting her gendered body and limiting its freedom of movement. In Symptom Machine, Cooper explores a threatening cinematic tension between the same CG figure and a zombie-like ‘cipher’ – here, human and non-human figures meet, seep blood, and enact a pursuit on a conveyor belt.

As indicated by their titles, Cooper’s works are inspired by the way a virus behaves within the body – tricking its host into assaulting its own immune system. Turning the tropes of commercial image production against themselves, Cooper asserts the bodily nature of her characters, exploring their performative and ‘material’ limits. In doing so, she disrupts our ability to empathise with the images, and suggests new possibilities of autonomy and self-care.

Kate Cooper (b. 1984, Liverpool, UK) lives and works in London and Amsterdam. Her work has been shown at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2019); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2018); Public Art Fund, New York (2017); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2014); the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015) and the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2014). She is the co-founder of the London based, artist-led organisation Auto Italia and was recently a resident at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam.

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