There’s glitter in my soup by Steven Cohen

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Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and artslink.co.za and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years.
Robyn Sassen

CohenGlitter.jpg

FLATTENED: Cohen, Steven. Portrait Series Photoshoot, Lille, 15/8/2019 (detail), make-up, glitter, synthetic eyelashes, beads and feathers on tape. 64 x 64cm. Photograph by Stevenson Gallery.

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VISUAL ART HAS primeval, ritualistic roots; amid the moneyed operations of galleries and the cloying notion of commercially accessible easy art, sometimes those old levels of cruelty and wisdom poke through. When you encounter the current body of self-portraits by Steven Cohen, collectively entitled There’s glitter in my soup!, you feel that resonance palpably. These distorted understandings of the detritus of Cohen’s performed work are like records of reversed make-up. They’re very violent gestures of skin pulling and unwinding, but they’re also as honest and as sacral as death masks.

Cohen has, since the late 1980s, redefined his personal aesthetic in a way that has flown in the face of wouldbe imitators. His full head of makeup, adorned with the kind of things you might find in…

To read the complete post please visit https://robynsassenmyview.com/2019/11/20/saving-face/

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