Thursday, 11 December 2014

William Latham on the early inspiration that informs his pioneering work in Computer Art

William Latham's Mutator 2 (Triptych) is currently on display in Centrespace, VRC. This interactive video projection is inspired by the processes of evolution, and once activated by the viewer uses complex computer software to create fantastical forms that mutate and spin on the gallery walls.

William Latham: Mutator 2, Centrespace, VRC, DJCAD, 2014. Photo: Kathryn Rattray
In an interview with Central Station, Latham highlights one of the significant starting points of his practice; drawing utilising 'FormSynth' rules. These early drawing works hold a clear resonance with the computer art installation, Mutator 2 (Triptych):

While I studied at RCA I began to devise an evolutionary rule-based drawing system that would generate organic rather than geometric forms. I called the system FormSynth (short for Form Synthesis). This system uses transforms such as “Bulge”, “Beak”, “Stretch” and “Scoop,” which define how to distort or sculpt 3D forms starting from geometric primitives to evolve increasingly complex forms with each transform step recorded and laid out in large evolutionary tree drawings. Some of these early works are currently in the exhibition Mutator 2 in Centrespace, VRC.

William Latham: Mutator 2, Centrespace, VRC, 2014. Photo: Kathryn Rattray
I take inspiration from the natural world (including fungi, sea urchins, jelly fish, viruses, octopuses), sci-fi movies, paisley patterns, William Morris, heavy metal imagery, D’Arcy Thompson, and Surrealist Art (Dali, Magritte, Tanguy). Initially my work at RCA was heavily influenced by Russian Constructivism, Pop Art and Process Art and by contact with artists such as Kenneth Martin, Mary Kelly and Eduardo Paolozzi, who became a mentor for many years. I still find these areas of interest relevant today.

Catch William Latham: Mutator 2, at Centrespace, VRC, DJCAD which is located on the lower floors of the DCA, 152 Nethergate, Dundee, until 31 January 2015. The exhibition is open Mon-Sat 12-4pm but will be closed from 20 December - 7 January. 

For more information on the exhibition please see:

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis - Save the date for The Process of Content, Roundtable Discussion

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.

Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis, Cooper Gallery, 2014. Photo: Kathryn Rattray.
Anna Oppermann's ensemble 'Cotoneaster horizontalis (Anticommunication design)' is now show in Cooper Gallery, exhibited alongside drawings, archival material and 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 which records Oppermann guiding her subject through the ensemble she produced in 1977 for documenta 6. 

SAVE THE DATE/// 29 November 2014, 2.00-4.30pm

Roundtable Discussion
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 and Writer, São Paulo), Prof. Martin Warnke & Carmen Wedemeyer (Researchers, Leuphana University Lüneburg). Chaired by Dr. Lisa Otty (Lecturer, The University of Edinburgh).

Drawn from the proposition that the work of Anna Oppermann acts as a 'practice of thinking', the Roundtable Discussion is a stimulating gathering of thoughts that elaborates and amplifies the histories, politics and social reverberations of art practices in the 1970s and 80s, and the influence and impact they have on our thinking about art and culture today.

This event is free. If you would like attend please RSVP to

For more information visit the webpage:

More info about the exhibition:

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

cotoneaster horizontalis

“Stretching and reaching from the corner of a room, a dizzying array of images, words and objects grasp the eye and the mind …”[1]
From a corner at the opposite end of the gallery the voice of the prematurely deceased artist rhythmically fills the space and evokes the ‘painter’s diagonal method’[2] – this is the result of a curatorial composition that involves a video playing of the artist, Anna Oppermann, telling us about her work. The documentary film dates from 1977. In it, Oppermann says she started creating ensembles because she was unable to paint a perfect painting that could be framed, shown in a gallery and be widely admired. Because of this critical self-reflection and her rich thought processes, she moved from painting to ensembles.
There is a lot to look at in this ensemble, Cotoneaster horizontalis, which is a recreation of the ensemble shown at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf in 1984.
The Cooper gallery offers the space and the time to look at it all – space and time were integral to Oppermann’s practice.
“Even if produced over a number of years, every ensemble does indeed have a surprisingly simple beginning in time and space.” Oppermann’s ensembles were all motivated by a specific ’starting object’ such as an everyday object, a plant or a phrase. As an artist, Oppermann dedicated time and energy to explaining herself; she made art from the depths of her thought processes, from recordings and sometimes by multiplying and reworking every stage of that process. As an academic, Oppermann struggled with the rigid system at Wuppertal University where she taught for eight years. Perhaps the name and the definition of the cotoneaster plant(see below) resemble the profile of a student of that time and we could argue that it also describes contemporary students, too.
 “Cotoneasters come in all shapes and sizes, raging from prostrate ground covers [German: bodembedecker] to 20 ft. trees. All cotoneaster are hardy and tolerant of poor conditions – they will grow almost anywhere and need no attention apart from cutting back if they start to get out of hand.”[3]
This exhibition at the Cooper gallery, which is just on the other side of the wall from the general foundation year studios at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, is visually rich and sure to be a potent source of inspiration for students who come to see it. Hopefully their future work will echo Oppermann’s reflective play and they will be provoked to ask themselves what it means to ‘be an artist’.

[1] From Against the Finite by Sophia Yadong Hao, p.1 Anna Oppermann Cotoneaster horizontalis publication, Cooper gallery, Dundee, 2014
[2] The Diagonal Method is a “method” of composition that was discovered accidentally in May 2006 by the Dutch photographer and teacher of photography Edwin Westhoff while doing research on a theory of composition called the “Rule of Thirds”, as it is known in photography. The Diagonal Method is different from existing theories of composition (e.g. the Rule of Thirds and the Golden Section) because it is not concerned with making “good” compositions but with finding details which are important to the artist in a psychological or emotional way. In this way the Diagonal Method is completely subjective. It has nothing to do with positioning lines or shapes in a certain location within a frame with the intention of getting a “better” composition. Hence we can use the Diagonal Method to find out what the artist’s interests were. The positioning of details is done in an unconscious manner. That’s why the Diagonal Method is so exact.
[3] From Hessayon, D. G., The Tree & Shrub Expert, pbi Publications, Herts, 1983

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Installation In Progress: Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster horizontalis, Cooper Gallery 17 October - 13 December 2014

Preview this week///

Cooper Gallery are pleased to announce the first major exhibition in the UK of preeminent German conceptual artist Anna Oppermann (1940 -1993) which opens Thursday 16 October, 5.30-7.30pm.

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.

In progress...

The installation of Oppermann's 'Cotoneaster horizontalis' is currently underway in Cooper Gallery before the work is revealed in it's full glory on Thursday evening at the Preview. Below are detail photographs of some of the smallest component parts of the ensemble during install. The ensemble will reach and stretch out from the corner of the gallery occupying walls and floor 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. 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. 

Anna Oppermann with her students at Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg, 1978
To correlate with the catalogues, personal notes, sketches, photographs and 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.

A Roundtable Discussion on Saturday 29 November, 2 – 4.30pm entitled The Process of Content: on a temporality in Conceptual Art will bring 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) and will be chaired by Dr. Lisa Otty

More information about the exhibition and events is available on our website:

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Jamming begins... Studio Jamming: Artists' Collaborations in Scotland GANGHUT Artists' Residency

GANGHUT are currently Artists in Residence at Cooper Gallery (23 - 27 June 2014). Inspired by the notions of 'jam' and 'jamming'GANGHUT will use this time to develop a live performance to be staged during the Preview of Studio Jamming: Artists' Collaborations in Scotland on 28 June from 6pm.

GANGHUT Cooper Gallery Project Space, Tuesday 24 June. Photo Abi Dryburgh

Entitled Jamming StudioGANGHUT’s presence in Studio Jamming will be formed from the physical results of the group’s time as Artists in Residence from 23 – 27 June when they will occupy the Cooper Gallery Project Space for the week. During this time GANGHUT members will spend time together, working and collaborating on the task of ‘making jam’. For GANGHUT, ‘making jam’ provides a situation in which to make connections with the other artists and the audience and by referencing this tradition of Dundee, the jam making will open out a space for recalling and retelling particular narratives associated with the city and themselves.
GANGHUT Cooper Gallery Project Space, 'Pump Up the Jam'. Photo: Cooper Gallery
Join GANGHUT in Cooper Gallery Project Space for their Open Studio events on Wednesday 25, Thursday 26 and Friday 27 June from 5-6pm for some jamming!

GANGHUT Cooper Gallery Project Space, 'Pump Up the Jam'. Photo: Cooper Gallery
Please see our website for details of the dynamic Events series accompanying Studio Jamming: Artists' Collaborations in Scotland at Cooper Gallery: 

Monday, 16 June 2014

SCT graduates present shift at Enjoy..! Coffee Lounge, 44-46 Albert Street, Dundee, Sunday 22 June, 12.30-4.30pm

Graduate members of Exhibitions at DJCAD's Student Curatorial Team are working with Scottish-based artists to present shift, a one-day event to transform Enjoy..! Coffee Lounge, Dundee into studio/library/gallery hosting performance and installation on Sunday, 22 June, 12.30-4.30pm.

Morgan Cahn, Katie Reid and Lada Wilson are all graduate members of the Student Curatorial Team having attended Student Curatorial Team workshops and seminars, and curated exhibitions/events/projects during their time at DJCAD. Each continue to practice artistically and curatorially developing their understanding of how these roles interchange and relate.

Site-visit, Enjoy..! Coffee Lounge, 44-46 Albert Street, Dundee.
shift, curated by Katie Reid, is supported by her DVAA award and by the event's hosts Enjoy..! Coffee Lounge. Morgan Cahn, Becca Clark, Katie Reid, Richard Taylor & Lada Wilson make new works in response to the notion of the cafe as a 'third place' somewhere other than or in between home and workplace. Questioning what it means 'to work,' 'to practice,' 'to read,' or 'to journey' play a central role to many of the works developed for shift. While the time invested in, and the moments of exchange that occur through conversation are also of significance to many of the artists whether visibly or in the development of the project.

Richard Taylor's Work Done challenges the relation between practice and work most defiantly. Richard presents a small sculpture and a drawing connected by themes expanded upon in a new text read to the audience along with selected photography. The text to be read at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm, will be slightly edited upon each reading after Richard journeys repeatedly all the way to the top of Dundee Law hill and back down to Enjoy..! Coffee Lounge to read again. Richard recently performed another Reading with Apparatus at Generator Projects for performingNOW.

Richard Taylor, Hutchinsons Tack at PerformingNOW, Generator Projects, 2014
Becca Clark's sculptural pulley systems developed for shift find themselves somewhere between work and play. A series of small interventions by way of teeny movable sculptures assess the value of input and output, action and reaction while Becca also presents zines; a medium made for the work/art, art/work, art/life, work/life balance.

Language and conversation take centre stage in both Morgan Cahn and Lada Wilson's works. Morgan's What do you think is vital knowledge or information for each of us to have? considers how we enact the process of learning while highlighting the moments of educational exchange that can occur through conversation. Developed as an active and evolving library, Morgan will exchange knowledge with visitors and log this in her newly bound book, pictured below with some of the encyclopaedias she will bring for reference.

Morgan Cahn, What do you think is vital knowledge or information for each of us to have? 2014

Lada Wilson transforms words from different languages into objets trouvés that lead to participatory events. For shift, Lada invites the audience to take part in a verbal and visual exchange that will create a portrait of time from words and imagination, exploring our understanding of language and the structures surrounding it. Lada's work will encroach onto the street with words running along the side of the cafe acting as signposts for thinking to approaching visitors.

Katie Reid takes her role as curator/facilitator of shift as inspiration for the work she'll develop. To experiment through extending the functional role that is often part of being a curator of site responsive projects she will make use of what temporarily becomes excess furniture in Enjoy..! Coffee Lounge encouraging her to consider what the terms, 'leftovers,' 'material,' and 'position' may mean from this perspective within the situation of shift.

Enjoy..! Coffee Lounge, 44-46 Albert Street, Dundee

shift, Sunday 22 June, 12.30-4.30pm at Enjoy..! Coffee Lounge, 44-46 Albert Street, Dundee is one of Central Station's featured events: and you can find out more information about the artists and their practices via the link above.

Follow the project on twitter using #shift or @PistachioRoux @beccalclark @rreitak @RichardTaylors

If you would like more information about how to join the Student Curatorial Team please email with 'Student Curatorial Team Application' in the subject heading.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Studio Jamming: Artists' Collaborations in Scotland is coming soon!

We are pleased to announce Studio Jamming: Artists' Collaborations in Scotlandan exhibition as part of GENERATIONthis summer's major, nation-wide exhibition programme showcasing some of the best and most significant art to have emerged from Scotland over a period of 25 years and part of the Glasgow 2014 Culture Programme. 
Taking its cue from the live improvised excitement of musical jamming, Cooper Gallery in Dundee presents Studio Jamming: Artists’ Collaborations in Scotland; the first discursive survey to foreground the grassroots character of artists’ collaboration that has contributed to the remarkable achievements of contemporary art in Scotland. The exhibition is open 30 June - 2 August, Monday - Fridays 11am-5pm and the project is accompanied by a packed full, dynamic events series.

The exhibition opens on 28 June with a Preview and Performance by GANGHUT. Get a sneak peak inside the Cooper Gallery Project Space when the events series begins on 24 June with a (LIVE) publishing workshop, then from 5-6pm on Wednesday 25 June, Thursday 26 June and Friday 27 June, join us for GANGHUT's Five O'Clock Open Studios to hear from them about their Artists Residency which runs through that week ahead of their Performance at the Preview. The events series continues throughout the exhibition programme and there are talks, screenings, workshops and performances as well as the 12-Hour Jamming Symposium on 25 July. Keep an eye on our Events page to see what's happening when!
Adopting a diverse curatorial approach the project is comprised of exhibitions, a dynamic event series and a Group Critical Writing Residency, culminating in a 12-hour Jamming Symposium.
Studio Jamming is set to re-search, annotate, contextualise and celebrate artists’ collaboration as a particular phenomenon of artistic practice in Scotland. The key ingredient for this process is the Studio Jamming Hub, an architectural intervention constructed in and around Cooper Gallery designed by Studio Miessen led by Markus Miessen, an alumni of GSA and now a leading thinker in Critical Spatial Practice. Developing as a live critical discourse, the Studio Jamming Hub acts as a collaborative ‘site’ where artists, writers, architects, educators, researchers, performers, cultural thinkers and participants present, reflect upon and elaborate the possibilities and histories embedded in artists’ collaborations. 
Studio Miessen

Among the highlights of Studio Jamming is the presentation of works from artists’ collaborative groups including Graham Eatough & Graham FagenFull EyeGANGHUT and Henry VIII’s Wives. The artists’ collaborative groups occupy the Studio Jamming Hub for a week each to present new works and events between 30 June – 2 August. 

Studio Jamming is annotated and collated through (LIVE) publishing, a series of free publications created, printed and disseminated in situ, edited by Sean Scott and Katie Reid, produced with the (LIVE) publishing team.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

interAction(s) portraits

This is the last interAction(s) portraits exhibition
Curator's reflection is a series of artworks: portraits
and a self-portrait.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Looking back at Kathrin Sonntag's I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU

Two Student Curatorial Team members, Abi Dryburgh and Lucas Battich, cast their eye on Kathrin Sonntag's I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, 28 February - 8 April, Cooper Gallery, DJCAD and wrote these pieces for Cooper Gallery Notes... Get involved with the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

Kathrin Sonntag, I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, Cooper Gallery, 2014

I saw this and thought of you

A fun, minimal look (sic) at the representation of objects. Inspired by a trip to a glass eye factory, Kathrin Sonntag has created a reflexive installation that stares back at the viewer and makes you question the very mechanisms by which you understand the work. Addressing the innate human need to make links and connect like with like, visual connections are taken to their most basic level – a clementine sits on orange paper, a green spray bottle stands next to a colour-matched smear on a clear pane. Plain coloured fields pepper the walls and bring to mind Pantone swatches and their attempt to make organised sense of the colour spectrum.

Kathrin Sonntag, I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, Cooper Gallery, 2014
The placements of matching pigments, colours and shapes next to objects that they recall if anything make me think about how dubious the validity of representational painting is today. When a stout coffee cup can evoke an eyeball or a flat square of brown quite clearly represents wood, what is the point in elaborating in more detail? There is great power in simplifying, and this exhibition is a strong example.

For me the most arresting work in the room is the mirror that has been masked in the middle by what is essentially a rectangular paper cataract. In a room filled with prosthetic eyes, it is a stark reminder of how precious eyesight is for those of us lucky enough to have it.

Abi Dryburgh, 
Level Four, Fine Art, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
Abi Dryburgh's website:

Kathrin Sonntag, I See You Seeing Me See You

During the fifth century BCE the Greek philosopher Empedocles first suggested what later came to be known as the extramission theory of visual perception. The theory was best developed by Plato, who argued on the existence of an internal fire issuing from our eyes as a visual stream (Timaeus 45b-c), which by touching objects allowed us to perceive them. This idea was only refuted many centuries later by modern science. However, even though mistaken in its physical aspects, the theory has its correlative in the way we move and focus our eyes, the way our embodied subject constructs the world around us, to an extent governed by cultural and social habits, rather than passively receiving factual information. These varied concerns are put into play in Kathrin Sonntag’s installation I See You Seeing Me See You.

This immersive installation is centered around the leitmotif of the prosthetic eye. The exhibition includes numerous references to the history of the glass eye in Lauscha, a small German town where prosthetic eyes were invented, and also home to traditional doll’s eyes manufacturers. Featuring a range of photographic and sculptural works, everyday objects, sets of display cases and slide projections, the installation creates an atmosphere reminiscent of a workshop, or rather a laboratory, that connects with Lauscha’s history.

Kathrin Sonntag, I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, Cooper Gallery, 2014
The varied composition of objects creates playful and compelling visual propositions, highlighting at times unexpected similarities. Everyday objects, such as a light bulb, a bouquet of flowers, a broom, are juxtaposed in such ways that their familiarity borders into alterity. The act of seeing (and of being seen) is put in relation with the Freudian notion of the uncanny, where objects retain a sense of the ordinary, while at the same time are distorted into something that seems foreign, unfamiliar, alien. This notion is also increased by the recurrence of glass eyes throughout the exhibition, which gives these inanimate objects the unsettling impression of having their own agency.  Frames constitute another recurrent feature, as a structure that guides the eye into certain details or sections in the installation and gallery space, which seem to remind us that much is a stake depending the angle from which things are perceived. The photographic act of framing is also recalled with the inclusion of camera lenses and a 1930s book on the optics of photography, aptly titled Das Auge Meiner Kamera [The Eye of the Camera].

Kathrin Sonntag, I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, Cooper Gallery, 2014
Monochrome surfaces, including paper, painting on walls and glass, and even projected to the gallery wall on a slide projector, seem to give a nod to the long history of monochrome painting during modernism (Frank Stella statement on trying “to keep the paint as good as it was in the can” finds its echo in an actual can of paint positioned next to a painted shape on the wall), while establishing particular areas or regions within the gallery, each with its dominant colour. These chromatic arrangements give the spatial installation both a musical and cinematic quality, highlighting the temporal aspect of the eye’s journey through the exhibition.

Plato’s proposition on visual perception may not hold as a scientific description, but in its metaphorical sense it seems to come alive in this exhibition, where Sonntag cleverly weaves a wide range of visual elements to engage us on the act of seeing.

Lucas Battich
Level Four, Art Philosophy & Contemporary Practices, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
Lucas Battich's website:

To read other reviews and watch a filmed artist conversation by Kathrin Sonntag please visit: