Narcissus’ Folly of Youthful Naivete in the Work of Coco Young

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@ Coco Young

There are references abound… a lineage… Corinne day, Nan Goldin, a bit of Larry lark and I’d like to think a bit of Mark Morrisroe (somehow, I think this is very wishful).

 

By Brad Feuerhelm, ASX, March 2015

Coco Young’s “Vanity” on Bemojake books is an affirmation of what it is to be young and beautiful, and it seems to measure itself towards the nascent profundity of youthful confusion. It is focused heavily on the body and its place in the world as it travels in and out of its immediate surroundings.

Young, a former model, has done what many models do after their world changes in the career of fashion. She has symptomatically turned the camera on her world in an effort to document friends, presumed lovers, and her environment. There are references abound…a lineage…Corinne day, Nan Goldin, a bit of Larry lark and I’d like to think a bit of Mark Morrisroe (somehow, I think this is very wishful). The work itself is not groundbreaking by any means and there are clichés abound. The photographs of trees turned on their side, the dimly lit portraits blurred by the lights of the street lamps or car taillights. The saving grace of which is the title “Vanity”, which makes me want to pardon the young auteur for sharing her world with me as it reflects her awareness of the condition within the pages. There is also perhaps, my own mismatched conflation of Young’s product as I slip onward past my mid-30’s getting grumpier by the second. There is a nagging sensation that everything feels much less profound in the book as I deal with my own “real world” headaches.

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@ Coco Young

In the scans themselves, there is the hint of veins full of flowing young blood and the various creases of skin, which meander and crack along their finely lotioned surfaces suggesting continuity without end.

 

Looking at the book, I realize that I and everyone else privileged enough to do so has been here before. There is a certain nostalgia I am reliving through her eyes which makes me somehow annoyed that I need to look at it. Perhaps there is something inside myself that cannot correlate to my intake of the works with the repetition of experiences that I have already lived or have seen lived by others. That is, of course, my own problem. I also resent knowing her background as a model and am projecting a sense of “back in the day-isms” and my brain screams “PRIVILEGED” and that shouldn’t be part of how I analyze her work. Everything seems so grandiose when you’re young, so I forgive and move forward.

The formal strength of the work is relevant in the scans of the body she employs. They suggest relics, bodies fixed in amber to remember later. There is also fluidity present within the images. It is present in the sunlight dripping off youthful clavicles and hair. In the scans themselves, there is the hint of veins full of flowing young blood and the various creases of skin, which meander and crack along their finely lotioned surfaces suggesting continuity without end. This Fluidity is travels on its way to the determined palace of aging. The paradigm of water as reflection and narcissism, a manifold shift into an inevitable progression of self and self-interest. Within this, there is a hint of fair play about her work. That being said as I grumble over my coffee writing this, I would like to see this sort of document continue, an archive of self that does not need stop at the edges of this book. I would like to come back to her work ten years from now and see where we both are at, what we have learned, and what solutions for living may have presented themselves along the way.

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Coco Young
Vanity
Bemojake

 

(All rights reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Coco Young.)

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