POISON,18min HD video, 2011
The protagonists of POISON, an 8-ball and a die, meet at a gas station and hit the road, encountering various natural and man-made scenes, composed entirely of photocopies, paperclips, ladders, and other improvisations. Taking a cue from Shakespeare's tragedies in which malice serves as a dramatic tool and functions as a nearly sculptural substance, Cohen’s POISON flows with sensuous fluidity. Cohen has cast various colors of lace to portray oil, water, and blood, vital liquids that are generated, collected and depleted as the piece unfolds.
The fragility of Cohen’s built environments reflects the essentially collapsible, arbitrary nature of human logic and relations. The impromptu emptiness of black-box theater serves as a model, though in Cohen’s work the camera replaces the audience and thus shifts the focus from performed authenticity to perceived aesthetics. In those staged realities, where objects are the characters, and human beings perform the forces that animate them, Cohen addresses the immediate and sometimes superficial relationship we have to everyday objects -- what meanings and values we imbue in them, and how we use them to curate the way we want to be perceived. In a series of events that resemble a time-based collage, Cohen deconstructs and rearranges images and objects into a system that meditates on the logic that shapes our understanding and appreciation of the real. Cohen creates works that are clearly handmade, but nonetheless visually and structurally complex.