Popel Coumou’s existential photographs of architectural collages show scenes in which man is both the onlooker and creator.
Popel Coumou looks for the romanticism in geometry and human absence. The way the outline of a dusty window is projected on a bleak floor shows the almost tangible loneliness in her photographs. Nevertheless the source of these works is a lot less evident than first suspected. These images are collages constructed out of two dimensional fragments of architecture and nature which are then lit and photographed. In this way her two dimensional collage photography leads to the illusion of a three dimensional space. This in turn enables her to create unreal spaces in which time evaporates into a desolate vacuum.
This doesn’t mean her works are always depressing. There exists a certain beauty in the gritty coldness and sharp distinction of forms visible in these works. A beauty that could be compared to the lone figures we see in the paintings by Caspar David Friedrich. Popel implicitly shows the presence of man in her works and by doing so invokes the classical search for identity in the arts. This aspect of her work is strengthened by her technique in which she prefers the small imperfections of analog photography in favor of the impersonal perfection of the digital image. By doing so her works are always balancing between a sence of space that is both silenced and human and the flattened plane of the collage.
On Saturday the 27th of November TORCH gallery will open with an exhibition of new work by the Dutch photographer Popel Coumou (1978). This opening will take place at the Lauriergracht 94 in Amsterdam between 5 and 7 pm. After this event the works will be on show until Saturday the first of January. Popel’s existential photographs of architectural collages show scenes in which man is both the onlooker and creator. Her work will simultaneously be shown at huis Marseile; museum for Photography in Amsterdam.
This show of new works will be the first solo-exhibtion for Popel Coumou at TORCH gallery. Also, this will be the first show by an artist that is selected by the gallery’s new director, Mo van der Have. Popel is the first addition to a large roster of artists represented by the gallery and the first new choice after the passing away of Adriaan van der Have, Mo’s father. Before showing at TORCH Popel Coumou’s work has been shown at museum Foam in Amsterdam and many venues accross Europe. Her photographs are part of many significant collections in the Netherlands.