Andrew Cooper

And yet another Wednesday artist talk. We we’re supposed to have James, who is a lecturer at the university. However, for reasons that I do not know of, there was a sudden change of artists for our talk, hence why now I am writing about Andrew, and not James.

Our ’emergency’ email to let us know who he is was sent to us and said;

Andrew Cooper uses sculpture, drawing, film and performance. How work revolves around a swelling cast of semi-autobiographical characters and myths that he used to explore and deconstruct social and political events and movements. In 2007 he initiated the Portman Gallery project, a contemporary art gallery which exists within a state secondary school in Bethnal Green. Cooper lives and works in London.

Andrew has a launch of his comic book ‘How Come’ on Thursday 10 November at Mutton First Press, UNIT 2B1, 9-15 ELTHORNE ROAD, (entrance on Boothby Rd.) Archwat, London, United Kingdom

In ‘How Come’ Andrew Cooper takes us on a distorted hallucinatory journey. Exploring the art world, capitalism and labour values with a cast of grotesque characters. Like Stan the Artist, a semi-biographical combined and influenced but the ridiculous stories and behaviour of Coopers own Uncle Stan. See Stan try to find his place in the art world but instead finding only a brutal monstrous market place. Join Nuggity Nugget and Nugget Nuggity, two lumps of pure gold so commodified that they wandered out of the mine all on their own. Finally find all the products you need with helpful adverts for cat food (made from human meat) and the brand new “commodity” (complete with angelic voice and fully working orifice….eughhh).

Andrew Cooper’/ website

Andrew Cooper, ‘WE’, 2016

Andrew Cooper, ‘Those whose souls Resist Repossession’, 2016

Andrew Cooper works as an artist on the streets with a South West Communist group, however part time, he teaches. He often works with the medium of performance where he believes that you are able to create you own platforms.

For the performance that Andrew did for us, he used a cotton bag or a pillow case to cover his face. Thsis made us concentrate on the performance and the characters that were being used rather than his face, his facial expressions and the way in which he uses his mouth to talk in different ways. It made him invisible. The performance overall was ironic, often ‘quoting’ politicians – ‘there’s someone behind me pulling my strings’ and ‘I have nothing to do with Savill’s [with the puppets sticks being covered in Savill’s advertising]’. Another thing that I noticed was that the performance was initially very funny and relaxed, but somewhere, around a third to half way through, it turned very serious as it had to address a era current, important and serious issue.

Andrew also drew different figures and posters  to bring people’s attention to the situation at Lambeth as it was a place that was specifically earmarked to be demolished. With this, and many other projects that Andrew has done, he works with a large amount with various different people – families, children etc. He also found that it was mainly women forming these resistance movements that he has been helping.

The artworks that are produced for the resistance movements that Andrew partake in are very expressionate. He believes that artwork helps movements to get their ideas and expressions across.

The medium of comics is also used that look at the relationships between the council and Savill’s in the Lambert situation. In one of these, it explains that people are decanted. This is where people are learning and being promised a home when they returned from the demolition. This was fought not on,y with the comics, but also with a protest and other activities such as throwing glitter and having an open mike so people can shout what they think. It allows people’s views to get across in different ways, which is quite vital in getting your voice heard in a protest.

[Thomas Sankhara]. Andrew works a lot on the street, once again, with many different people. He does this in order to get meaning across in a different medium – Andrew commented upon the fact that some of the most interesting conversations and some of his best exhibitions have been done on the streets, talking to people and relating to people. 

As a part of a different protest, Andrew and a group of locals created elephant masks and took to walking through Elephant and Castle shopping centre that was due to be demolished even thought  it was a crucial part of the local community.

Old furniture is used to create many of the ‘characters’ that Andrew uses in his works. These came around from the death of his father and had two weeks to clear the house of all his belongings. Andrew also commented upon the fact that you can have all kinds of radical things happening in the inStatutes all structure but nothing will change.

One of the newest projects that Andrew is partaking in is all about commodities. The wants and needs of people Nd of artists. This project also looks at the buying and selling of different things and the use of monetary value versus other values. The same price for a Rolex watch as a large pile of manure. During Andrew’s speech of this project, he often referred back to Marx and quoted him anything times. He looks at a lot of value and the use of the value when exchanging, especially with baby shampoo bottles! Andrew also mentioned a very valid point that many don’t often think about; use values are. Dry different. There are different values for their uses.

  • Socially necessary labour time. The average time and skill to make commodities
  • Division of labour but no commodity exchange – exchange rates
  • A need a commodities that makes a value

I aalso found that there was a recurring hand and eye theme throughout some of his work, which I believe is related to Marxism and communism.

Andrew hismelf is very strongly minded, which may be linked to my preconception of communism and the beliefs of Marx. The things he said however, also makes sense outside the context of communism. His inspirations, which he briefly added at the end of the talk, are newspaper cartoonists my Punch and Judy and the artist Goya.

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