The value of Art – how to cultivate a company, Focus: Cooper & Gorfer

5. Cooper & Gorfer; 'Shola and Islam in a Field of Newly Planted Trees', 2010, Estimate 80 000 – 100 000 SEK / 7 626 – 9 533 EUR

The artist duo Cooper & Gorfer comprises the artists Sarah Cooper (b. 1974, USA) and Nina Gorfer (b. 1979, Austria). Cooper is a classically trained photographer and Gorfer has studied architecture under Zaha Hadid. The basis for their collaboration is a shared fascination with visual storytelling and narrative structures, resulting in imagery shaped by their respective backgrounds.

They began their collaboration in 2006 and have achieved great success with their seductive aesthetic. With intricate photo-based collages, reminiscent of dream-like paintings, they document faraway places and people, represented through compelling poetic tales. The time it takes them to create an image, with its careful direction and detailed postproduction equates to the time spent on a refined studio painting. The pieces oscillate between the precision of photography and the ambiguity of painting, challenging the formal limitations of both techniques. Here are references to, for example, the Pre-Raphaelites and classic Renaissance portraiture. We are reminded that photography is not a shortcut to reality but an interpretative art form just like a painting.

Cooper & Gorfer’s series stretch from Sápmi in northern Scandinavia to the Faroe Islands, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, and Argentina. The projects, which examine cultural identities and the importance of place, take years to complete. In order to do justice to these people, themes, and topics the duo always creates a book for each project. Apart from the visual material it also contains the documentation of the research they have conducted.

Fashion is one of several interests that Cooper and Gorfer have in common. They want to investigate how clothes function as carriers of culture and often ask their models to wear clothes and accessories they’ve inherited from their own families, clothes with a history. Throughout art, history clothes have played an enormously significant role in iconography.

The piece Portrait of a Turning Girl, 2010, belongs to the series Latent Now, executed between 2008 and 2010. In this series, the artist duo closely examines collective memories in Qatar, a country that has in the last decades gone through a complete transformation, from poverty to extreme wealth based on oil and natural gases. With the rapid economic development, each generation has had to grow up under new conditions and with different notions of what their country and local culture is. The artists have, in this project, questioned whether shared cultural carriers and collective stories might still remain.

My Quiet of Gold was Cooper and Gorfer’s second project together and took place between 2006 and 2011. The dramatic images take their starting point in the folk tales and myths of Kyrgyzstan.

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When is the viewing and auction?

The value of art – A contemporary collection
Viewing: 8 – 13 October, (Sunday 11 October closed) Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Auction: 14 October, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm, 5 pm.

Contact specialist

Karin Aringer
Karin Aringer
Specialist Photography, Contemporary Art,
+46 (0)702 63 70 57
Louise Wrede
Louise Wrede
Specialist Contemporary Art
+46 (0)739 40 08 19
Björn Extergren
Björn Extergren
Head of Consignment & Sales Department, Fineart. Specialist Antique Furniture, Decorative Arts and Asian Ceramics
+46 (0)706 40 28 61