David Hancock's Cosplay, Zed Nelson's Love Me and Sensing Sculpture in Wolverhampton

By Culture24 Reporter | 12 March 2013

Exhibition previews: Cosplay, until June 1; Love Me, until June 8; Sensing Sculptures, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton

A photo of a girl with red hair dressed in a silvery superhero outfit crouching by a wall
David Hancock, Arkham Asylum (2012). Watercolour© Courtesy David Hancock
Turning themselves into human versions of computer game characters and Japanese Manga comics, Cosplayers tend to be a visually arresting bunch.

David Hancock, though, has embellished this beauty by recreating each fold of fabric and foliage, painted large-scale in watercolour enlargements of the personalities of Wolverhampton’s most dedicated escapists.

A photo of a bronze sculpture of a footballer in his kit within a modern art gallery
The Sensing Sculpture gallery has reopened© WAVE
“I am hoping that when people see the work, they will be amazed by the creativity of the Cosplayers,” says the Manchester-based artist.

“They should also gain a different perspective on the city in which they live.

“I find it fascinating how different people use the urban space, how the Cosplayers transform it into an internal fantasy or how, for skaters, the city becomes a series of obstacles to test their ability. Others will simply see the beautiful architecture of the gallery or go shopping.

“The city has a particular relationship to each person, and this is something I would like the audience to gain a sense of in my work.

“It has been great working with the Cosplayers in Wolverhampton and the Midlands – they have generously given me their time and shared this aspect of their life.”

Three films are being screened alongside the artworks, and workshops so far have included costume, figurine and paper doll designing. And another popular introduction for the public is likely to be the gallery’s interactive Sensing Sculpture, which has reopened to visitors at the same time.

Returning from the collection, its redisplay explores the contrasts between traditional and modern approaches, with wood, stone and bronze items going on show for the first time.

Recycled toys and the impact of weight, texture and shape provide some of the themes, with a striking centrepiece in the form of a new light and sound work by local artist Georgie Clark-Roden, responding to touch and movement.

A photo of a young female beauty queen standing up wearing a tiara and pink dress
Zed Nelson, Katie age 9© Courtesy Impressions Gallery / Ffotogallery
“We’ve focused on maximising interactivity,” says curator Carol Thompson. “We encourage visitors to touch everything in the gallery.

“It has been created to make this skilled art form both accessible and appealing for as many people as possible.”

Zed Nelson's Love Me is being shared with the Light House Media Centre.

The Uganda-born artist portrays cosmetic surgeons, beauty queens, bodybuilders and everyday teenagers, housewives and businessmen, visiting 18 countries across five countries in a tour which witnessed nose jobs in Iran and a Russian nuclear agency’s search for Miss Atom. Issues of beauty rarely feel this unsettling.

  • Open 10am-5pm (closed Sunday and Bank Holidays). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @WolvArtGallery.

More pictures:

A photo of an artwork showing a Japanese manga character crouching beneath a door
© Courtesy David Hancock

A close-up photo of the hand of an enormous stone sculpture
© WAVE

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