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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

Steven Cooper at the Ashmolean

Published: 17 May 2004

Stephen Cooper's intervention at the Ashmolean began with a visit to Japan to research painted screens from the Edo period in the foundations and museums of Tokyo and the temples in Kyoto. Cooper was especially struck by the display of folding screens at the Nezu Foundation in Tokyo, and the temples and grounds located on the eastern side of Kyoto.

Cooper has taken the folding screen format and the concept of museum display cases, as the starting points for the intervention. He constructs relationships between painting and architecture in his new work, and has made two intriguing three-dimensional paintings - one in two parts, the other in four - each resting on a section of painted floor. These works are presented in the existing museum cases, effectively creating an interior within an interior. His intervention plays with ideas of artifice and interior space - significant themes in Japanese art and culture.

Cooper's oil paintings are large, intensely coloured objects, ironically incorporating texts which have been influenced by haiku poetry. click here for Stephen's pages on the Ashmolean Museum website

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