ALIKA COOPER, Making Magic

EXHIBITION DATES: 12th DEC. 2008 - 21st FEB. 2009

Hamish Morrison Galerie is delighted to present the first exhibition of the American artist Alika Cooper (* 1979), in Germany. Under the title `Making Magic´ the artist presents a series of drawings and paintings reflecting on the cultural heritage of her country.

Cooper’s female portraits represent major figures of the American cinema who were formative for generations of viewers and who have gradually withdrawn themselves discreetly from the collective memory. Cooper not only questions the nature of the power of their sex appeal but also the way in which they succeeded in creating an image of femininity and refinement, an image laden with sexual power and glamour, and yet removed, enabling them to rise into the halls of the modern Olympia.

As in David Lynch’s film Mullholland Drive, Alika Cooper deconstructs the myth of Hollywood and analyses these female ideals and the American Dream in general. Cooper asks, a generation later, to what extent Icons such as Bo, Tipi or Bianca created their own myth, carried and sometimes consumed them.

Are these faces developing or are they already in the process of disappearing? What do they feel? Their glance often carries beyond the framework of the painting while their faces remain impassive. When Farah shows a suggested smile, this is nevertheless tinted with a sad nostalgia. They all appear to be in another dimension. Were they already in this state when they were at the summit of their fame? Today myths are not built in the same way anymore. These mythical and at the same time living megastars are replaced today through programmed Icons.

The drawings, as the paintings of Alika Cooper, are executed with a firm and a contrasting stroke, whereby the drawings leave broad surfaces of the used, yellow paper exposed. A paper, which appears to yellow through time, transports the isolated images into another dimension. A dimension among other things filled with world-wide well-known female faces, with which recent generations no longer connect names, or in which only isolated houses, trees or cars testify to the former presence of humans. (Bobby´s House)

Cooper’s view of architecture leads us on the infinite highways of America. The drawings evoke the family Joad in John Steinbecks `Grapes of Anger´, who, ruined by dust-storms, left their homeland full despair and fled to California, where they lost the last remainder of their hopes and integrity. The landscapes shown are usually characterized by the aridness of nature in that even the recurring presence of individual cars, another misadventure of the American myth, does not fill this vacuum. The flashback of `Making Magic´ permits us to recognize  the extent of the desolation and the isolation, in which the presence of humans is present through the  abandoned graves only. (Memorial)

Is the end of a civilization’s belief in their own legends already a sign of its own demise? The works of Alika Cooper are less a cynical record than an honest observation, filled with nostalgic poetry, of the fragility of that fame and that legend, which do not outlast time.

Myths vary and transform themselves - that has also something magical.

CV Alika Cooper