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Archived exhibition

Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis

Preview: Thursday 16 October 2014, 5.30 – 7.30pm

Exhibition: 17 October – 13 December 2014

Roundtable discussion: Saturday 29th November 2014, 2.00 – 4.30pm
The Process of Content: on a temporality in contemporary art
Speakers: Guy Brett (Curator and Critic, London), Lynda Morris (Curator and Art Historian, Norwich), Tobi Maier (Curator, São Paulo), Prof. Martin Warnke & Carmen Wedemeyer (Researchers at Leuphana University Lüneburg). Chaired by Dr. Lisa Otty (Research Fellow, The University of Edinburgh).

Cooper Gallery are pleased to announce the first major exhibition in the UK of preeminent German conceptual artist Anna Oppermann (1940 -1993).

Stretching and reaching out from the corner of a room, a dizzying array of images, words and objects grasp the eye and the mind with an embrace intense enough to cause vertigo. Almost visually feverish in its multiplication of associations and connections, the work of Anna Oppermann can appear impossibly complex.

Composed of hundreds and often thousands of drawings, paintings, photographs, texts, slogans and objects, Oppermann’s distinctive art works lay bare the process of perception, awareness and the very practice of thinking itself.

To name her manifestly expansive sculptural situations and to indicate their method of construction, Oppermann used the word ‘Ensemble’. During her career Oppermann created over 70 of these Ensembles, generating a body of highly influential works that are still capable of interrogating and subverting the boundaries and practice of contemporary art and critiquing the ideological construction of the personal in society today.

Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis

Images: Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis, Cooper Gallery, 2014. Photos: Kathryn Rattray.

Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis will feature Oppermann’s highly celebrated 1984 ensemble Cotoneaster horizontalis (Anticommunication design) exhibited for the first time alongside drawings, prints, collages, documentary films and archival material.

The exhibition is conceived from a specific curatorial intention bracketed by two key moments; a period when Oppermann started exploring her notion of ‘Ensemble’ and later when she was established as a tutor at the University of Wuppertal and facing the conservative practices of academia. By drawing out the interrelation of the personal and the political in the development of Oppermann’s practice, this curatorial approach provides a context in which to situate a body of archival material that foreground the social and biographical factors informing her oeuvre. To correlate with the catalogues, personal notes, sketches, photographs, ephemera, the archival strand in the exhibition will feature a documentary film from the collection of the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany; made by the experimental German film maker Michael Geißler, it records Oppermann guiding her subject through the ensemble she produced in 1977 for documenta 6.

Anna Oppermann

Process formed an integral part of Oppermann’s practice and she carefully produced an archive of material documenting her production method. By drawing on the artist’s archival intention, the exhibition will explore how to activate archival materials within a discursive exhibition situation and the role of new technologies in archival practices. This new advancement in digital archival practices was produced in response to Oppermann’s complex ensembles by researchers from Leuphana University; Professor Martin Warnke and Carmen Wedemeyer. One of the outcomes of their research is a software suite, enabling the viewer to explore the artist’s extensive cross-referencing within her practice, which will be featured alongside the archival material.

Providing a textual counterpoint to accompany Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis will be a 32page publication drawing together a body of writing from Anna Oppermann, Oppermann's lifelong partner Herbert Hossmann, researchers from Leuphana University Lüneberg; Professor Martin Warnke & Carmen Wedemeyer and the exhibition's curator Sophia Hao. ?

This video was originally posted on Art in Scotland TV, which is a contemporary arts-news site run by the Summerhall TV team.

Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis has been reviewed and previewed in a number of publications:

Alex Hetherington reviewed the exhibition for Aesthetica online, published on 7 November.

Laura Campbell reviewed the exhibition for this is tomorrow published on 5 December 2015. Please click the following link to read more:

David Pollock gave the exhibition 4 of 5 stars for The List published on 13 November 2014. The List also featured Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis in their 'Hit List' in issue 730.

David Pollock also previewed the exhibition for the Courier on 17 October 2014.

The Courier Anna Oppermann

Jan Patience previewed the exhibition in her 'Gallery Round Up' for The Herald Arts published on 18 October 2014.

Jan Patience, The Herald, 18 October 2015

The Skinny featured the exhibition in 'This week in Scottish Art' published on 14 October 2014.

STV Dundee featured a preview of the exhibition published on 15 September 2014

Images of Roundtable Discussion, Cooper Gallery, 2014. Photos: Kathryn Rattray

Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis will be the first major solo exhibition of Oppermann’s work in the UK and will form the largest presentation of her work in the country since her work was featured at the Serpentine Gallery in 1981. Oppermann received international recognition for her ‘ensembles’, which were presented in major solo exhibitions at Hamburger Kunsthalle, Bonner Kunstverein, and biennials including documenta (1977 and 1987) and the 39th Venice Biennale (1980). Since her passing in 1993, her work has been realised in major solo presentations at the MoMA PS1 (1999), the Generali Foundation Vienna (2007), 30th São Paulo Biennial (2012) and at Frieze Masters (2013).

Cooper Gallery would like to thank the estate of Anna Oppermann and Galerie Barbara Thumm.

This project is kindly supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland and The Henry Moore Foundation.

We also thank Goethe Institut Glasgow for their kind support of the exhibition.

Cooper Gallery is open Monday - Saturday, 11am - 5pm, and can be accessed via the Cooper Gallery doors on the east side of the DJCAD car park.

‌Image: Anna Oppermann in the Ivory Tower of the ensemble The Artist's Task to Solve Problems (Problem of Space), 1978–1984. Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris 1981. Courtesy of the Estate of Anna Oppermann and Galerie Barbara Thumm Berlin.