Deville Cohen

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What is my artwork about?

In my Xerox based videos, sculptures and photograph I use performative and sculptural techniques to create works that reflect on the immediate relationships we have to everyday objects and environments. The somewhat complex narrative structures of my videos are carefully balanced by the intentional rickety of the sets, the makeshift of their assembly and the fragility of the materials. I use humor and absurdity to create fragmented systems of symbols and physical spaces. The characters engagements in these systems are an absurd attempt at piecing together meanings, functions and order in a world of endless representations.

Artist Statement

Using mundane objects and materials I am interested in their cultural readymade-ness; their formal qualities, and their narrative potential. In a work that is both representative and formal, the materials and objects I use gain and lose their meaning through each scene’s constructed context. In Poison (HD video, 18 min), lace is transformed from a fabric into a fluid substance– once liquidated; each color of lace is associated with a different natural fluid; oil, water, blood, poison.

The impromptu emptiness of the black-box theater serves as an archetype, but in my videos the camera replaces the audience and thus shifts the focus from performed authenticity to perceived aesthetics. For me, the camera frame transforms the three-dimensional stage from a tactile and active space into a sculpted image, a compressed and reconstructed picture of reality. “Scale-bending” is a tool that I use in order to toy with notions of placement and belonging. Often in my videos the size of a set remains unknown until an element with a familiar scale is placed inside of it- a performer body, or an objects becomes the “device” I use to establish and play with the dimensions of each scene. In ZERO (HD video, 23 min) the Measuring-tape and the Hourglass serve as the main characters – investigating the relationship between measuring units and the qualities that they represent. In the roller-coaster scene from MIDNIGHT (Performed at the Wooster Group Performance Garage, 2014), we experience the roller-coaster rides from different perspectives and in different scales – as a video of passenger cars being pushed by a finger to an enlarge roller-coaster that surrounds the performer’s body on stage. In my staging of The-Pink-Bedroom (One-act play by Tennessee Williams) in ZERO; I performed the two characters with hand puppets and props, switching characters and scale according to the dialog.

The variation in the size of such elements complicates the character’s ability to maintain a coherent proportional relation to their physical and metaphorical environments. The soccer ball in ZERO, is going through representational variations – portrayed as a surface, an object, a substance and a characters in various scenes. It is being slapped, kicked, dropped, cracked, boiled, foamed and sliced. The ball’s true narratives lays in the relations between its different treatments. The ball’s conflicts exists in both its narrative context, and in the modularity of itself and of its reality. In that sense, my work is both a meditation on our attempts to understand our immediate reality; and is an aspiration for a temporary relief from the absurd and poorly designed systems of representation, identification, social order and common sense in our everyday life.



Born in Petach Tikva, Israel 1977

Live and work in Brooklyn, NY


2008-2010 MFA Bard College, Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, NY

2002-2007 KHB , Weiseensee, kunsthochschule Berlin, Germany

Solo Exhibitions:

2014 Zero, CCA (Center For Contemporary Art), Tel Aviv, Israel

2014 Zero, Disjecta, Portland, OR

2013 Poison, The Front, New Orleans, LA

2012 Poison, FAB Gallery, VCU, Richmond, VA

2010 Grayscale, Braverman gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel

Performances and screenings:

2014 MIDNIGHT, The Performing Garage, New York, NY

2014 Poison, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Canada

2013 Poison, Marjorie Barrick Museum, Las Vegas, NV

Group Shows:


– Made For Television, Curated by Jamillah James, AUX Performance Space, Philadelphia, PA

– The Undulation of Something Faintly Familiar, Curated by Jen DeNike & Rita de Alencar Pinto, Anat Ebgi Gallery, LA

– UNSPARING QUALITY Curated by Farrah Karapetian, Diane Rosenstein Fine Art, LA


– Queens International 2013, Queens Museum, NY

– Tomorrow It’s Time For The Future, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Berlin, Berlin, Germany


– Stage Presence, Theatricality in Art and Media, SFMOMA, SF, CA

– Campaign, Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart, C24 gallery, New York, NY

– Downstairs, Meulensteen Gallery, New York, NY


– Stagecraft, (Brian Bress, Deville Cohen, Kate Gilmore, Mary Reid Kelley), USFCAM, FL

– The Finishers, Curated by Eric Gleason and Ethan Greenbaum, The Wassaic Project, NY

– BOMBbash, Marlborough Chelsea, New York, NY

– D. COHEN, A. KOSCHMIEDER, J. WINTER, Foxy Production, New York, NY


– Greater New York, MoMAPS1, New York, NY

– Shadow Effect, The Company, LA

– Young Israelis, Lesley Heller Workspace, New York, NY

– L_A_C_E+ Black Star, Two Solo Projects, recess-art, New York, NY


– The Fuzzy Set, (screening), LAXART, LA

– Beneath a Passive Surface, (screening), Artist Television Access, SF

– Kling og Bang vs. 111, Kling og Bang gallery, Reykjavik, Iceland


2014-15 LMCC Workspace Residency Program

2014 The Performing Garage, New York, NY

2012 EMPAC, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, TROY, NY

2010 Recess Art, SoHo, NYC

Visiting artist and teaching:

2013-2015 Corcoran College of Art+Design, Washington DC (Adjunct Faculty)

2013 Loyola University, New Orleans, LA (visiting artist)

2011 Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (visiting artist)

2010 CCNY, New York, NY (visiting artist)

2010, Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem, Israel (visiting artist)



Selected Bibliography:

Motley, John, “Deville Cohen’s ‘Zero’ at Disjecta plays with time, space and expectations: review”. The Oregonian (February, 11, 2014)

“Deville Cohen: Residencies In DepthEMPAC @ Rensselaer, Video interview with Emily Zimmerman, (December, 2013)

Peterson, Kristen. “Barrick’s new film series features works by Deville Cohen”, Las Vegas Weekly (Artil 24, 2014)

Online interview. “Deville Cohen, Cronenberg, Beckett, Hitchcock and a Xerox machine”. (February 26, 2013)

Fitzpatrick, Corrine. “Deville Cohen, POISON”, Critics’ Pick on (December 3, 2011)

Hirsch, Faye. “Greater New York.” Art in America (September 2010)

Kleinman, Adam. “Greater New York.” Artforum (September 2010)

Smith, Roberta. “Take Me Out to the Big Show in Queens.” The New York Times (May 27, 2010)

Smith, Roberta “Sharing a National Identity, Emerging Artists Engaging in a Visual Language”. The Young israelis: curated by Lilly Wei. The New York Times (August 11, 2010)