Artist and photographer Popel Coumou (b. 1978) plays in her work with the main elements of photography: light, paper and perception of reality. By carefully lighting her collages she manages to give the paper relief a third dimension, bringing the flat surface to life. In a space with tall windows depth is created by the sunlight shining in, a simple little house appears in a large field, and illuminated geometric shapes loom out of a dark and desolate natural landscape. In other images, we realise only after looking very carefully that what we are seeing are not life-sized objects, but miniatures still lifes in clay, some of which even still bear the occasional fingerprint. Popel Coumou creates empty spaces, graphic lines and compositions verging on the abstract. Although her work rarely features any figures, there is always a sign of recent human presence, such as an empty chair or an open door. Popel has produced new work specially for the projects gallery at Fotomuseum Den Haag , using the space itself while at the same time revealing her creative process. She has enlarged her collage technique, which she had previously used mainly in a small format, to create an installation that will allow visitors to step into her illusionary world. Popel Coumou drew inspiration for the work from the iconic Kunstmuseum Den Haag building next door, designed by architect H.P. Berlage (1856-1934), as well as the architectural lines of the Fotomuseum.
The exhibition has been made possible by the Mondrian Fund.
“Popel Coumou, Paper and Light”, an overview of her work to date, will be published to coincide with the exhibition. Designed by –SYB-, it includes essays by Els Barents and Willemijn van der Zwaan.