Jo Coupe: The Ashes of other Elements: WORKPLACE GATESHEAD

7 June - 19 July 2014 Gateshead

Workplace Gallery is delighted to present our second exhibition of new work by Jo Coupe.

 

After the rain is an installation that presents an audio recording made by Coupe alongside the means of its making. Recorded in Chopwell Woods in West Gateshead, After the rain documents the sounds emitted from a series of high voltage power lines traversing the woodland, which are loudest when the air around the lines is damp. The piece was recorded with provisionally assembled parabolic microphones, fashioned from lapel microphones and domestic objects such as umbrellas, bowls, lampshades, woks, paint rollers, and decorators' poles. Coupe presents a collection of these objects stood vertically within the gallery space, a sinister group pointing collectively out of the space like banks of satellite dishes or observatories tracking some distant and unknown activity. The sounds in the space has a powerful effect due to both the physicality of the low frequency buzz and hum, and also because of our familiarity with the experience of being near such structures and the massive voltage and danger of death that they imply. This rendering of the sublime is put in contrast by the contingent sounds of the world around; a bee buzzing around the microphone, an aeroplane in the distance, far away cars and sporadic birdsong bring back an unhurried sense of pastoral beauty, creating an atmospheric fog of sound in the gallery space, to be felt as well as heard.

 

Cameo is a new sculptural wall piece shown in the adjacent gallery. In the centre of the wall is a festooning accumulation of gold chain and costume jewellery that spills and hangs down to the floor, with a gold plated earring subtly twitching and spinning as they are caught in an invisible electromagnetic field. The piece is part of an on-going body of work that explores the personal connections we have to objects and the significance and memories that we attach to them. Cameo is informed by research into Louisiana Voodoo and Haitian Vodou, where the symbolic nature of objects and materials is paramount, serving as a route to the spirit world.

 

‘What I find interesting about this idea is that art often performs the same function, investing
objects with power beyond the material, almost like casting a spell. I want to explore the
mechanisms we use to make this evident.’

Jo Coupe, 2014