THOMAS JOSHUA COOPER
One of the world’s most celebrated and distinctive landscape artists, Thomas Joshua Cooper, like Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, is a traveller. A nomadic artist whose extraordinary photographs are made in series and in enchanting locations, more often situated at the extremities of the globe. The images are realized only after long consideration. Through a process which can involve hours of waiting, gazing and meditation. He makes black and white photographs with a heavy and “obsolete” 7 x 5 in. nineteenth field camera; before the printing process, he underpaints them with deep yet delicate layers of selenium and gold chloride.
The artworks presented on the occasion of the first exhibition in Rome of the American photographer are part of “The World’s Edge – The Atlantic Basin project”, an epic endeavour begun in 1990 to map the extremities of land and islands that surround the Atlantic Ocean, beginning with Europe and Africa. Cooper undertakes solo expeditions to often inhabitated and inhospitable places, researched and tracked down on a map and chosen for their geographical location. Cooper’s works also seek to outline the memory of the landscape in global history marked by the fruits and pitfalls of globalization, for example At the World’s Edge—Southwest-most—Looking towards the New World—the North Atlantic Ocean marks the starting point of Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. This is not only about geography: “It is about place and memory, about historical identity and contemporary hopes and fears – and finally about silence and slowness” ( A. Harkness, Sojourns in The Archive: Photographs of The Atlantic Basin ).
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