Thursday, 15 October 2015

Cooper Summer Residency Exhibition 2015: THINGNESS?

Installation view of Cooper Summer Residency Exhibition 2015: THINGNESS?

In July 2015, Cooper Gallery hosted Glasgow based artist Oliver Braid, Brussels based artist Anouchka Oler and Edinburgh/Gateshead based philosopher Joseph Fletcher. During the residency, the artists and philosopher discussed and reflected upon the possibility of Object Oriented Ontology as a mode of interpretation with which to encounter contemporary art practices. This has led to a body of new works and an online publication which was presented in the exhibition at Cooper Gallery and on the Cooper Gallery website. 

Installation view of Are You Willing to Participate?,2015, Anouchka Oler.
For their exhibition in Cooper Gallery, artists Braid and Oler presented their divergent new works which were developed while on residency. Both artists' sculptural installations dominated the gallery whilst creating purposeful withdrawals from their shared space of cultural production. 

Anouchka Oler's installation investigates the precept of the performing and functional thing - object/body/mind - in contemporary society. Through multiple voices and several scenarios, her sculptural situation builds a multi-faceted hub comprising a moving-image installation, ceramic sculptures molded by the artist while in residence and at the top, a clay pot made on a pottery-wheel by the artist's mother. By mimicking a living system, the work manipulates, ingests and observes. The recurrent motif of destruction in this body of work displays the contrived obsolescence of these objects: by loosing their sensitive qualities, they are only left with the display of time invested in them. The inclination to disappear echoes the moving-image work in its attempt to remain opaque and inoperative. Moreover it questions the economy of an artistic practice and the life of an artist that is supposed to adapt and react efficiently to the possibilities cultural production offers. 

Installation view of, 2015, Oliver Braid.
A laptop, a white power cable, the Phew website, ten door handles, white tack dots and a distant sound; Oliver Braid has attempted to work as covertly as possible to construct an atmosphere which both withdraws from and fully dominates the gallery. Braid's work seeks to answer a question first posed by Quentin Crisp in 1981; "how, if at all, an object may express its maker to a stranger". Opposed to tackling Crisp's question directly, Braid is committed to utilizing oblique approaches in order to generate new modes of understanding. 

In September 2014 Braid expatriated himself to Phew, "an island off the coast of Glasgow" and the Cooper Gallery Summer Residency has been spent developing indirect portals of promotion for Phew's first seasonal events programme, Tell me Less & Tell Me More. This work included designing a new 'difficult-to-read' font for Phew related promotion, poetic texts for Phew's hard-to-access' online manifestation and exploring new ways of alerting audiences to Phew. 

Installation view of Notes on THINGNESS?, 2015, Joseph Fletcher
For the first time, this year Cooper Summer Residency invited the third resident to operate as a philosopher; Joseph Fletcher's role as this reflexive voice was confounding precisely because of the liberties that could be taken. Discussions unfurled the position of philosophical thinking in art practice and how to work across contexts, bodies of thought and models of practice. Fletcher's grounded in his ongoing research into community, opening up shared interest between the residency artists and creating a potential dialogue between debates around Object Orientated Ontology and the potential for a 'community of objects'. Fletcher's reflections have found their physical form through the Thingness? Online publication and via Cooper Gallery's online platforms. 

Cooper Summer Salon, 22 July 2015
During the residency Cooper Summer Salons were held once a week to amplify the making and thinking through conversations with the audience and to enrich the throughs of the participants. True to the informality of the events, they weren't recorded, creating an open public discussion that withdrew from the publicness of online conversational platforms. 

Cooper Summer Residency is a space for artists, writers and thinkers to reflect upon and experiment with new ideas and strategies that will extend their practice. It is also a social and discursive situation for dialogues and debates to take place between residency artists, writers, thinkers and interested publics, providing an alternative way to encounter, reflect and critique the plurality of contemporary culture. 

The artists and philosopher collaborated to make an online publications for Thingness? publishing their writings and work in relation to the residency:

Exhibition Preview & In Conversation Event

Exhibition: 18 September - 10 October 2015

Preview: Thursday 17 September 2015, 5.30 - 7.30pm

In Conversation: Thursday 17 September 2015, 4.30 - 5.30pm

On Thursday 17 September 2015 we held an In Conversation event with residency artists Oliver Braid and Anouchka Oler, residency philosopher Joseph Fletcher and Cooper Gallery Curator Sophia Yadong Hao. The In Conversation event was held as a forum for the artists and philosopher to reflect upon the Cooper Summer Residency and Exhibition.  

Joseph Fletcher discussed his reflections upon the summer residency; which were projected onto the wall on the stairs down to the Cooper Gallery Project Space. In his reflections Fletcher discussed the relation between the maker and the object, and how an object can tell us something about the maker. It was these thoughts which led to his investigation into Oliver's labour of carpentry & embroidery:
"This seems to be an important distinction to draw out. The heavy-labour of the philosophical carpenter, with his now exhausted hammer, properness of bearing and knowledge that is that is concentrated in each blow. This stands against embellishment: dextrous fingers, brevity and a sedentary patience. Not really two regimes of knowledge, but rather two contrasting figures of practice drawn out of an experience of the world."
'Useless object', part of installation Are You Willing to Participate?,
Anouchka Oler, 2015
Fletcher distinguishes between the two modes of artistic practice, and of the importance of process in cultural productivity. This very specifically relates to part of Anouchka Oler's installation Are You Willing to Participate? which includes a 'useless object', made specifically for the point of being made and not for its purpose. 

For more information about the Exhibition visit: 

To see photographs of the Exhibition install, Preview and In Conversation event visit our Flickr page at 

Cooper Summer Residency: THINGNESS? Reading List

To coincide with Cooper Summer Residency 2015, we asked the artists and writer to share with us a ‘suggested reading list’ of essays or publications that expand upon ideas related to their practice.

Below are the suggestions…

Towards Speculative Realism: Essays and Lectures by Graham Harman, Zero Books, 2010.
Object-Orientated Philosophy: the Noumenon's New Clothes by Peter Wolfendale, 2014.
The Democracy of Objects by Levi Byrant, 2011.
Collapse Vol. II: Speculative Realism edited by Robin McKay, 2012.
Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, 1781.
Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction by Ray Brassier, 2010. 

Oliver Braid's Suggested Reading List

The Marbled Swarm by Dennis Cooper, 2011.
Starry Speculative Corpse by Eugene Thacker, 2015.
Creepiness by Adam Kotzko, 2014.
Medieval Thought by David Luscombe, 1997.
‘Everything Is Not Connected’ (Essay excerpted from Bells and Whistles) by Graham Harman, 2012.
Self by Barry Dainton, 2014.
La Meilleure Part des hommes (Hate: A Romance) by Tristan Garcia, 2012.
The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory, 2010.
L’inexistence divide (The Divine Inexistence) (Translated excerpts from forthcoming publication) by Quentin Meillassoux, translated by Graham Harman, 2011.
BANK by BANK, 2001.
John Dies At The End by David Wong, 2007.

Anouchka Oler's Suggested Reading List

Neomaterialism by Joshua Simon, 2011.
Sexuality and Space edited by Beatriz Colomina, 1992.
Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama - Manhattan, 1970-1980 by J. Sanders, J. Hoberman, 2013.
Partly Unsettled by Lili Reynaud-Dewar in Petunia #3, 2011.
Guy de Cointet: Tempo Rubato by M. Arriola, J. Sanders, 2013.
Ettore Sottsass: a Critical Biography by Barbara Radice, 1993.
The Companion Species Manifesto Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness by Donna Haraway, 2003.
Le Corps Lesbien (The Lesbian Body) by Monique Wittig, 1973.
Le Guerrillères (not translated into English) by Monique Wittig, 1969.
La Beautè du Mètis: Rèflexions d'un Francophobe (not translated into English) by Guy Hocquenghem, 1979.

Joseph Fletcher's Suggested Reading List

The Inoperative Community by Jean Luc Nancy, 1991.
The Unavowable Community by Maurice Blanchot, 1988.
Being and Time by Martin Heidegger, 1962.
The Quadruple Object by Graham Harman, a Zero Books publication, 2011.
'The Confronted Community' by Jean Luc Nancy, Postcolonial Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 23-36, 2003. 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

CURRENT|不合时宜 Artist in Residence Anne-Marie Copestake reflects on her residency in Zhujiajiao

We're now half-way through Phase One of CURRENT |不合时宜: Contemporary Art From Scotland at Shanghai Himalayas Museum and so we invited Artist in Residence Anne-Marie Copestake to reflect on her residency at Shanghai Himalayas Museum's residency venue Zhujiajiao Art Museum in the watertown of Zhujiajiao. 

Throughout July, Glasgow-based artist Anne-Marie Copestake is Artist in Residence. Copestake is an artist who works with moving images, sound, performance, text, print, and sculpture. Fundamental to her practice is the exploration of language, in the form of printed artworks, texts, explorations of construction through lyric forms and scripts. Copestake often works collaboratively and has been a founding member of two long-term collective projects in Glasgow: Poster Club and Muscles of Joy.

Here Copestake reflects on the development of her works and her collaborations with local artists and experimental musicians while staying in Zhujiajiao Town... 

Strings Awu and Huang Jun replace strings and tune up the Guzheng. The tuning was explained to me in this way - Do, Re, Mi, So, La are present, and Fa and Ti are missing. But it has mostly been played during our sessions in untraditional ways, with various bows, keys, strips of cardboard, and sticks.

Jia Zhangke
I've been finding out more about the work of Jia Zhangke, from short clips and from talking to people. We watched a few of his films, 'Still Life', and 'The World'. 

Trying sounds
A local bar have kindly offered for me to come and use their drums whenever I like, during their opening hours from 10am to 10pm. I asked if it wouldn't disturb their customers, as it is peak tourist season, but they responded by saying I could go every day if I liked. I cannot imagine that someone warming up on drums would be much fun while you're trying to have lunch, so I first went along during the typhoon thinking it would be empty, and attempted to play as softly as possible to not disturb the CD that was playing. The only others in that day were a woman dozing in a chair, who occasionally gave me big smiles, and a wee boy playing next to her.

‪In the next few sessions Huang Jun and his friends brought other instruments along, the CD's were switched off, and a shifting line up of friends from the town have appeared to play and try out various combinations of sounds.

Dress up shop 
There are several dress-up shops in Zhujiajiao Town. There are rails of costumes, props, hair and make-up, a back-drop, and then more props are positioned at choice views in the street. You choose a classic look from the range of looks available,  and the preparations are then made for your transformation and final photograph.

Bamboo ceramic Balusters 
Zhujiajiao has a number of large gardens for visitors to see, gardens laid out according to particular Chinese landscaped styles. The photograph details ceramic bamboo parts on a staircase on a small pavilion in one garden. At the top of the stairs was a decorated room with wax figures, representing an original resident of the house and garden having tea with his friends.

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CURRENT |不合时宜 : Contemporary Art from Scotland
Phase One | Artists & Writers in Residence

In addition to the CURRENT |不合时宜 Phase One exhibitions, three residencies take place during the Phase One exhibitions in June/July 2015 at Shanghai Himalayas Museum’s Residency Venue Zhujiajiao Art Museum located at Zhujiajiao town, a picturesque watertown in the southeast of Shanghai.

Immersed in the historical, social and cultural context of China, the residencies enable the artists and writer to interact with contemporary art communities in the region. This unique experience will open up new positions, ideas and creative approaches for the artists and the writer, which will be shared with artists, writers and audiences in Scotland through a special programme at Cooper Gallery on their return. 

From 28 June – 5 July, Poster Club members Ciara Phillips, Michael Stumpf, Nicolas Party and Anne-Marie Copestake will undertake a week-long residency to recalibrate the group’s ideals “to make posters and to collaborate”, throughout July Glasgow-based artist Anne-Marie Copestake will be in residence and developing her work with local musicians in Shanghai, then from 15 – 31 July, art writer and member of Cooper Gallery’s Group Critical Writing initiative, Frances Davis will be the Art Writer in Residence, reflecting and annotating upon CURRENT |不合时宜 in Shanghai. 

Find out more about the Phase One CURRENT Artists & Writers Residencies programme on our website.

* * * 

CURRENT|不合时宜: Contemporary Art From Scotland is open at Shanghai Himalayas Museum until 9 August 2015. For more information visit our website.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Next Week/// Cooper Summer Residency 2015: THINGNESS?

Cooper Summer Residency 6–31 July 2015


For the 2015 edition of Cooper Summer Residency, we are delighted to host Glasgow-based artist Oliver Braid and Lyon-based artist Anouchka Oler, as well as Edinburgh-based philosopher, Joseph Fletcher. The artists’ practices investigate Object-Oriented Ontology and each will consider this philosophical phenomenon through the theme of thingness? during the residency. Cooper Summer Salon will be held once a week during the residency to amplify the making and thinking through conversations with the audience. 

Anouchka Oler, still from The Mother, the Monster and the Witch #1, (Voices will find their bodies), video, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

Glasgow-based artist Oliver Braid’s practice explores definitions of objects, from their objecthood to their subsequent social application, through experimental collaborative and curatorial compositions. His artworks and curated projects are influenced by an aleatoric sensibility uncovered under popular 21st century thinking; observations of Objects wandering with Well-being. 

Oliver Braid, Communal Dolphin Snouting, Transmission, Glasgow, 2013. Credit: Andrew McCue  
Lyon-based artist Anouchka Oler’s work often starts with materiality; the thingness of functionless forms, the materiality of language. Oler’s role is frequently made visible in relation to these forms; within her time-based pieces she performs characters that set into narratives, sculptures and objects, be it her own material production, or ones that have entered a history of cultural production. 

                                         Anouchka Oler Image taken from the video IRMA, 2015, 23

Edinburgh based philosopher Joseph Fletcher will join the residency as a third voice to place reflexivity at the heart of the residency.

Throughout the residency, we will host weekly salons here at Cooper Gallery where you are invited to join us and engage with the artists as they explore new avenues for their practices. This is a unique opportunity to gain an insight into the artists' processes, areas of research and influences, in an informal setting. Cooper Summer Salons will take place at 12.30–1.30pm on Wednesdays throughout the residency (8, 15, 22, 29 July) and we encourage visitors to drop in at any time during the hour.

For more information about Cooper Summer Residency 2015, visit our website.

Monday, 29 June 2015

CURRENT|不合时宜: Contemporary Art From Scotland /// Phase One launches at Shanghai Himalayas Museum

CURRENT |不合时宜: Contemporary Art From Scotland is now underway at Shanghai Himalayas Museum, China with Phase One Exhibitions by Poster Club and Edgar Schmitz. The launch, which took place this weekend on Saturday 27th June, also saw the inaugural Shanghai Forum Series, part of the international touring forum Hubs and Fictions: On Current Art and Imported Nearness.

A poster for CURRENT being installed in Shanghai at the museum. 
Co-curator Sophia Hao at the launch of CURRENT at Shanghai Himalayas Museum
For their exhibition Wheat, Mud, Machine, the collaborative artist group Poster Club have made a new body of work in the form of posters, stickers and garments. The exhibition invites audience members to engage with the exhibition by creating their own mementos from the show, utilising the on-site printing station and stamps made by the artists to make new images of slogans. In keeping with the ethos of the exhibition poster, Poster Club created the CURRENT poster announcing Phase One of the programme, using their specially designed 'finger font'. 

Members of Poster Club leading a tour of their exhibition Wheat, Mud, Machine
Yesterday on Sunday 28 June, Poster Club members Anne-Marie Copestake, Nicolas Party, Ciara Phillips and Michael Stumpf travelled to Shanghai Himalayas Museum's residency venue at Zhujiajiao Town, a picturesque watertown in the southeast of Shanghai, to begin their week-long residency.

Poster Club's Michael Stumpf, Anne-Marie Copestake and Nicolas Party at Zhujiajiao Art Museum. 

Edgar Schmitz has reconfigured a body of works first conceived for Cooper Gallery in 2012 with a new set of sculptural works, sound pieces and architectural interventions. Recasting debris from arthouse cinema, future infrastructures and derelict resort architectures, Schmitz' works populate galleries with sprawling motifs of conjured-up remoteness and projected 'elsewheres'. Like his 2012 Cooper Gallery exhibitionSurplus Cameo Decor: Sindanao 2 will be interspersed with live cameo appearances from art world protagonists developed for this new context. This weekend award winning film-maker Zhao Da Yong performed a cameo appearance of himself as himself in the gallery as cinematic set.

Edgar Schmitz: Surplus Cameo Decor: Sindanao 2

Co-curated by Sophia Hao and Edgar Schmitz, the first of the Hubs and Fictions Shanghai Series took place on Saturday 27th June. The forum titled Settings – Nearness as A Utopian Proposition saw a diverse line-up of figures from the contemporary art world examine the promise of institutionality and discuss the limitations of contemporary art infrastructures.

Audience at Shanghai Series Forum #1 with speakers WHW, Simon Groom, Wang Nanming and Terry Smith
A slide from What, How and For Whom/ WHW's presentation during Shanghai Forum Series #1

The morning session featured the all-female curatorial collective What, When and for Whom/ WHW and Director of The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Simon Groom, both of whom referred to past examples of their own curatorial projects including Meeting Points 7 and GENERATION: 25 years of Contemporary Art In Scotland. Co-curator of CURRENT, Wang Nanming started the afternoon session with his presentation Metavant-garde, followed by Professor Terry Smith who joined the other speakers remotely to present Defining Contemporaneity; Reorienting Experimentality; Reimagining the World

CURRENT|不合时宜: Contemporary Art From Scotland is on until 9 August 2015.

For more information about CURRENT visit our website.