a look at the histrionic characters of nadia lee cohen
"When you look at Cohen’s works, you see this magical blackhole that includes everything from Stanley Kubrick to Cindy Sherman."
This article originally appeared on i-D ES
"When you look at Cohen’s works, you see this magical blackhole that includes everything from Stanley Kubrick to Cindy Sherman," writes Valentino's Head of Branding Projects Yigit Turhan in a press release for Nadia Lee Cohen. Not a Retrospective currently showing at La Térmica in Málaga, Spain. At just 28, the English photographer and director has already made waves with her eccentric portraits inspired by cinema and pop culture.
It was Cohen's American Nightmare -- the portrait of a woman wearing a rabbit mask and a topless man sitting on a bed -- which won her the Taylor Wessing Portrait prize and made her visible to the international photography scene. She started out by collecting accessories and furniture from the 1960s and '70s and building sets with them in her parents' house. After studying at the London College of Fashion, she travelled around America's more marginal neighbourhoods, the aesthetic of which seems to have also informed her style.
Nowadays, her photographs are easily recognisable with their loud, highly saturated colours; perfectly orchestrated images that de- and reconstruct our own concept of perfection. But what they really create is a magical aura of melancholy. Women are at the centre of her fictitious situations, while she also prefers photographing real people instead of professional models. Cohen tells stories that take place both within the four walls of their houses -- in which her female characters fight conformity with sexual escapism -- and outside, where the luminous signs of big consumer brands dominate her landscapes.
'Nadia Lee Cohen, Not a Retrospective' runs at La Térmica (Malaga, Spain) until the 12th of May, 2019.