Matthew Couper in Private/Public

 

All of our older works are in the Private/Public exhibition and all of the newest ones are in Art for Art’s Sake, with four exceptions.

 

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Matthew Couper, Ex-voto, The 2nd of January, 2007, private collection

 

The curator of Private/Public, Emmanuel Ortega, decided that he would include work by the Las Vegas-based New Zealand-born artist Matt Couper. Couper — to quote the biography on his website — “uses the established narrative traditions of Spanish Colonial retablos and ex-votos to discuss the space between myth, religion, art and politics.”

 

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Matthew Couper, Ex-voto, The 23rd of November, 2007, private collection

 

The shape of the older ex-votos has surfaced again in his work. It is a rectangular form with the picture above and the writing below. It moved through hundreds of artists who have become anonymous, and now it runs into Matt Couper, where it promulgates itself in a secular way.

 

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Matthew Couper, Ex-voto, The 1st of February, 2007, private collection

 

How far could you go, removing the religious content from an ex-voto, before it lost its identity? How far before it was only a caption underneath a picture?

 

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Matthew Couper, Ex-voto, The 19th of June, 2007, private collection

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