Su san Cohn
Pieces of Peace
20th May – 24th June 2023
Anna Schwartz Gallery
OPENING SATURDAY 20 MAY 2023
Pieces of Peace interrogates the broad potential of adornment as a peace-tool while examining the impact of industrial production on hand making in the age of automation.
A central point of distinction is Cohn’s choice to work with machines rather than artificial intelligence. Cohn notes that machines are artificial assistants, lacking agency and freedom, thereby perfect for repetitive tasks. Machines have the capacity for forever fabrication, allowing them to continue making long after the artist has gone home, or even passed away. For Cohn, this presents an opportunity to explore the tension between the democratic and the elite as contextualised by the artist’s studio practice. The robots will do the work most of the time, but they will not challenge the artist. For Su san Cohn, machines are a tool used to explore ideas, not collaborators.
In Pieces of Peace, production seeks to subvert the idea of machines being used to create components for warfare by using them instead to produce peace offerings in the form of tokens and wearable craft. Throughout Cohn’s practice, she has explored the language of jewellery as an antidote to society’s anxiety about the stranger, the other and the interpersonally fractured.
The inherent potential of jewellery as a peace-tool is a central theme throughout the exhibition. Cohn posits that these adornments can serve as a means of communication and solidarity between people during difficult times. Together, the artworks explore the role these pieces play in creating a sense of connection and understanding between people as something which must be activated by personhood & humanness.
In its totality Pieces of Peace explores the potential of jewellery as a peace-tool, while examining the impact of industrial production on traditional hand making techniques. Using robotic assistance in the production of these pieces, Cohn creates objects that are beside the point, objects that are accessories to the performance or action of peacemaking itself. The viewer is invited to world-build and ultimately, usher into existence, a narrative of machines which, rather than being employed for destruction, exemplify togetherness, reconciliation, and peace.