Photo Monitor review of Thomas Joshua Cooper

Here is a great review on Photo Monitor of the new Thomas Joshus Cooper Show at Haunch of Venison by fellow photographer, Sophy Rickett:

Thomas Joshua Cooper: Messages / Reviewed by Sophy Rickett / 25.02.13

Physical location has been central to the work of Thomas Joshua Cooper, an artist who has established his practice making photographs in some of the most inaccessible and remote places in the world. In his seminal project, the ongoing An Atlas of Emptiness and Extremity, Cooper’s ultimate aim is to make an extensive series of pictures looking out to sea from all of the extreme edges of land around the Atlantic basin. It is a huge undertaking; the effort involved to make just one photograph, immense. He has spoken about the time away from home, the negotiations, the long journey, the complexity of the logistics.

In contrast, the works in Messages have been selected because of what they reveal about the sources of inspiration that have inflected Cooper’s work over the years. Artists and poets, both peers and also precursors are drawn into the orbit of his practice through the way the works are titled, evoking the sense of a dialogue between artists, something he has defined as an ‘ongoing conversation’. “Message to Basho”, Kiyosumi Garden, Tokyo, Japan recalls his early childhood memories of being read Japanese poetry by his mother. Other works acknowledge artistic affinities, such as the connection he felt with early photographic pioneers Timothy H. O’Sullivan and Alfred Stieglitz.

Ritual Object (Message to Donald Judd and Richard Serra), Derbyshire, shows a small rectangular object on a patch of grass. The top of the box shimmers with sunlight, the flatness, the geometry of it against the softness of the grass, emphasized. Made in 1975, just a few years after he arrived in the UK, despite the brightness, the image has a thick, dark intensity, a weight, the sense perhaps of a young artist in exile in the English landscape, looking for traces of his minimalist predecessors. The object itself could be read as a message, recalling the materially-oriented work of Judd or Serra. Or it could be interpreted more literally; a box with a message inside; a call out across the land; something said, but left unheard.....

For the rest, please follow this link:

© Thomas Joshua Cooper Ritual Object (Message to Donald Judd and Richard Serra), Derbyshire, 1975, Gelatin silver print, 12 x 17

© Thomas Joshua Cooper A Premonitional Work (Message to Friedrich and Frith), Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, Wales, 1992, Gelatin

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