Steven Cohen at the Stevenson Gallery with “There’s Glitter in my Soup”.
The exhibition is on from 9 November to 24 January.
This is very different from his performance art where he stages interventions in public or gallery or theatre spaces. Looking at the huge portrait of Cohen on the wall you see the intricacies of the make-up.
There are 12 pieces in 2 spaces. He has removed his make-up with archival tape and attached the tape in rows to create these exquisite pieces. They incorporate his make-up, bindi, feathers, synthetic eyelashes and butterfly and moth wings. In his description of his work he explains that these are a result of a rebuke at a dinner table from a guest who discovered glitter in their soup when he took duct tape from his bag and removed the offending make-up, and hence the exhibition title.
There is a strange feeling of looking at the inside outwards. He explains that “removing the make-up leaves me feeling pulled and slapped and plucked and stripped…….flayed and beyond fragile” There is an extraordinary fragility in the images he has made from “unmaking a work”.
Cohen takes hours to apply his performance mask and to assemble these detailed masks from the undoing is an intimate look post-performance.
The detail of the make-up of the ears reminds me of a topographical photograph of a burned landscape.
The details of the pores and creases is extraordinary and intimate.
What a beautiful exhibition representing something that is normally so transient becomes something extremely poignant.
You have to go and see this exhibition.