In 1984 Coplans began taking the photographs of his own body with which he established his international reputation as an artist. These large-scale black-and-white images, enlarged from 4×5 inch Polaroid photographs and often presented in groups, are candid and sometimes humorous explorations of his own body. By cropping off the head, Coplans presents these depersonalised images of the body as a surprising, intriguing object, fascinating in detail and malleability. His work also stands as a riposte to the cult of youth and beauty represented by commercial photography and what he saw as the vanities of the 1980s art world.
A Self-Portrait: John Coplans 1984–97 (exh. cat., Long Island City, NY, P.S.1, 1997)
John Coplans: A Self Portrait 1984–99 (exh. cat., Edinburgh, N.G. Mod. A., Dean Gal., 1999)
10 December 2000
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