1993 by Jeremy Cooper
Exhibited with Postcard Narratives @ R O O M ARTSPACE
Anyone who was lucky enough to see Postcard Narratives at R O O M would have immediately recognised a passion for this celebrated form of communication, a love that was unanimously expressed and explored by Jeremy Cooper and his invited artists. Cooper – whose postcard collection is vast, outlined in his recent book Artists’ Postcards. A Compendium – exhibited his work alongside 13 invited artists, from Tracey Emin and Gavin Turk to younger and recently graduated Cristina Garrido and Rebecca Loweth. All played with postcards; Frances Richardson building an empty and shattered wooden window frame, postcards tucked in the corners like friends’ photos, yet in each picture a white silhouetted space sits where a figure should be, the work aptly titled Would Only be Heartbreak for Me. In Abigail Lane’s Your World is a Burden to Me a full teacup perches on the edge of a plinth, a long and deadly straight drip of tea falling towards the floor, numerous postcards scattered carelessly at its feet. These small reproductions of treasured, memory filled, hated and loved images – possible words streaming across their backs – stir emotion, allowing these artists to make such bold statements and allowing us to identify with them. For there is something comforting and nostalgic about a postcard, a quality that sees generation after generation seduced. Mother’s Boy has four of Cooper’s prep school sports team photographs, ranging from 1957 to ’59, surrounded by cigarette cards of the glamorous girls of the ’50s. The young and determined faces of school boys sporting their kit are a sharp contrast to the beautiful and alluring pin-ups. Lined up around and between them, one gets the feeling these mothers boys don’t stand a chance. The subtlety with which Cooper brings his own life into the history told by his postcards is beautifully done, outlining the poignant power postcards possess. Although they each tell their own history, their image never fails to conjure personal memories and associations for the individual; they are small and accessible windows into a point in everyone’s time.