Self Portrait Crossed Fingers
Dirt under the fingernails. Black, wrinkled old man's hair on the knuckles. Wrinkles and lines. When John Coplans photographed his own hands, he did not put his fingers in between. There is no attempt at beautification, no illusions. And in just that, there is a kind of poetry.
Fingers play the lead role in Self Portrait Crossed Fingers. The five black and white photographs show Coplans’s fingers, held up and crossed in different constellations. Dark fingers, against a pure white background. The nails have a dull luster, their bases are marked by white lunula. The skin is criss-crossed by deep lines, the traces of a long life. There is no quest for lost youth, no glorification of the smooth and "beautiful". Coplans shows us where he is in life, with an honesty that is experienced as disturbingly intimate.
John Coplans (1920-2003) was an artist, curator, writer and critic. He was British, but emigrated to the United States in 1960. In 1962 he was a founding member of Artforum, which has since become one of the most influential art magazines in the world. The last twenty years of his life he worked with photography, and the subject was his own body. He was fascinated by details, and particularly liked photographing his hands and feet. Coplans is currently represented in about six dozen museums in the U.S. and the world at large. His work is presented in detail in the book A Body from 2002.
NORA SØRENSEN VAAGE