Models of Being an Accessory

Project: Models of Being an Accessory

Authors: Gita Cooper-Van Ingen

Models of Being an Accessory (2020) is a hybrid body of work, made by Gita Cooper-van Ingen, which examines the intersecting, conflicting and diverse fields of (self-)portraiture, photography, autobiography and fashion.

The body of work comprises moving image, essays, prints, as well as ceramics. Models of being an accessory is based on a memoir, Bags: Over the Umbrian Moon written by Laura Burke – a friend, in which she describes the seven years of her life leading and organising the production of counterfeit designer handbags, sold in the so-called parallel market.

Using the story as both premise and backdrop, Gita Cooper-van Ingen scratches the surfaces of the advertisements used to sell the designer bags her friend reproduced, and goes beyond these in her visual research. Organising this material into mood boards, formally used in the assemblage of atmospheres in preparation for ‘commercial’ image production, Cooper-van Ingen begins to unveil a larger image network exposing the ways in which women are represented and re-appropriated.

Viewed as consumers and as representations, women occupy a tightly designated space within the spectacles of consumer capitalism and high fashion allure. Through questioning the kind of access her own appearance grants her, the work starts to thematise different layers of (image) productions as well as self-productions. These relationships then, are all contained within the handbag’s history and development itself.

<<< Stills from Models of Being an Accessory, 2020. 8:08 min.

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