Måg Magazine, Issue 3
The State of Being Erased by C AE
In 2010, London based artist Cos Ahmet, embarked upon a new series of works under the banner Altered State. Assembled and inspired by a diverse source from the artist’s personal archive (postcards, found imagery, newsprint/magazine cuttings, and remnants, amongst others) this use of collage marks a shift in Cos Ahmet’s creativity, moving away from his established repertoire of figures and body imagery, igniting a new fascination and passion for the male form, albeit with trace elements of past works.
This departure has opened sets of possibilities that has allowed Ahmet to make free associations to use found imagery, creating a sub-language within his recognized body dialogues, exploring parallels within the self, shaping, altering and shifting into meta-figurative beings.
“I am interested in conveying information that is transmitted through body, personal encounters and the ‘unconscious body’ something Carl Jung, a contemporary of Freud referred to as “the shadow”, a concept and underlying principle to the human psyche. I appear in my work in several guises, presenting a new face or mannerism, bearing a mask where I insert myself into new circumstances, flirt with previous ones, and offer an altered discourse”. (The Artist)
Altered State questions the origin of identity, authorship and originality and their relevance to making art today. A number of pieces include homage’s to artists and to their works that have been a constant inspiration and influence throughout his art career. Ahmet, has in essence, turned the table and is physically exploiting these works as his own as a nod to the original but with his own twist in varying forms of erasure. Within the visual arts, erasure has been an effectual device for artists, displaying the interchange between what is concealed and revealed. Robert Rauschenberg carried out his elaborate gesture in 1953 by erasing a drawing by Willem de Kooning using forty rubber erasers, then appropriating the destroyed drawing as his own artwork.
Under Erasure (2010), presented here by the artist as a triptych, the act of erasure is employed. Under Erasure makes reference to Kouros the Greek statue. The term kouros was given to depictions or representations of male youths that first appeared in the Archaic period in Greece, purported to represent the god Apollo. This kouros figure is also applied to the quartet of works ‘The Arrangement of Knowledge’ (2010), where objects and structures are placed over the kouroi bodies in layers, one on top of another, typical of Ahmet’s repertoire.
Under Erasure, breaks with Ahmet’s habitual layers, and instead cuts the whole image away, leaving a silhouette. This exposes an abyss, where a new ‘inner layer’ replaces the original, adding an unknown quantity to the erased body. This omission and silencing of the figure is balanced by the presence of the feet. Strong, existing in an altered state.
In each part, the lack of surface features (apart from the feet, and the presence of sexual organs), with the attention on the pose, produces an empathic response of our own feelings, making us aware of the ‘whole’ due to the lack of any distinctive features. Silent, complex yet laced with uncertainty. The obscurity and sheer darkness is much greater and deeper in the narrative, full of unexplored parables that the artist has yet to address, leaving the viewer to contemplate and question not only the artist’s soul but also their own.
Vist the feature 'A State of Being Erased' in Måg Issue 3 here