“There is a kind of day that is very grey or brown . . . it is a mood or tone I often feel on a dreary day, waiting for a taxi before it rains or going to some kind of daily routine . . . It’s the experience of being on the street in open space, or just inside ourselves. What do we feel, what do we choose to notice and sense on a given day? It’s about the internal and external landscape of the place as I experience it.”

From "Taking note", by Nicholas Laughlin, in the August 2006 Caribbean Review of Books

Sunday, October 2, 2011

“All That’s Left”

New print edition derived from the "Tropical Night" series.
 "all that's left..."
Christopher Cozier, All That’s Left, 2011, set of eight ten-color screen prints,  9 x 7 inches each. 

Made at Axelle Fine Arts in Brooklyn in collaboration with Luther Davis and his team, and supported by David Krut projects, this silkscreen edition is a suite of 8 images that are in concert with each other. I am searching for an associative connection like a Tarot reading of a given moment. It is also an adaptation of newer and older elements of Tropical Night's visual language. The basic idea comes from a five gourde coin that I have had on me since my first visit to Haiti some years ago. The coin was astonishingly smooth and the figures of the revolution had become so worn down that they looked like shadows or silhouettes - visible but unrecognizable. You sort of know it’s them if you know the history. What does this say about the use of these figures within national narratives and the current political reality.
This connected with the empty lots that I have been looking at over the last few years ( which first appeared in the 2010 TTFF edition "now showing") that I now call either "all that is left" or "Site of Exchange. " I am thinking of our troubled relation to history or the predicament of it in a situation in which all is expediently transformed into a cash value, The thousands of paintings of those Colonial edifices that are now mostly demolished and converted into square feet of real estate and car parks come to mind. So for the rest of us, history or memory becomes an act of conjuring. We are only left to imagine what was there before when we encounter these empty lots. So what do they represent? Is this a moment of opportunity or of violation? Within this set of images, there are other signs and or forms being investigated but I do not want of over explain. I myself need to figure what they may be producing while I look at them over time.

Available through David Krut Projects NY - see here

See interview by Kristyna Comer on the edition here

Monday, November 15, 2010

New version in "Vous êtes ici," Martinique.

Tropical Night - Martinique
Another version related to the space and moment consisting of 210 drawings.

Tropical Night in Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (CGAC), Spain

Tropical Night / Spain
Photo by Nuno Ferreira

Friday, January 29, 2010

Afro Modern installation.

Installation of larger version of "Tropical Night"  in AFRO MODERN at the TATE, Liverpool. 189 drawings were used instead of the 136 used in the "Infinite Island" show at the  Brooklyn Museum in 2007.

Getting the pins and clips up accurately. It took one full day.



Final arrangement - click here for detail of new arrangement.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


"MADE IN CHINA" stamps have been so much a part of our lives growing up in Caribbean. In the past it was pencils and plastic pencil-sharpeners, yellow twelve-inch-rulers etc. Modest items with all the associations of developing countries and low level consumption. Today, in the same locations, for people with bigger budgets, it is now monolithic structures and narratives of progress.
I bought this little stamp in a mall in Port of Spain. I began to see these little stamps more and more over the years. Apparently they are quite commonly used for labeling, on arrival, in small shops? Why are they being labeled here in Trinidad? What would the value of labeling my work this way in narratives of development and progress? So far I have begun to label drawings of pedestals for politicians to stand upon.
I am about to install a newer updated version of "Tropical Night" at the TATE Liverpool, in the Afro Modern exhibition. I packed my little rubber stamp.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Down Diego"

Down Diego

Titles ( L-R) : "D'Vale", "Red Horny Boy Ride", "Starting Blocks" and "Itchy Lawn and Sticky Fingers". "Down Diego" is yet another thread that I just noticed within the group of new drawings. It is another of those works that engage, the unmentionable or unseen - tropical suburbia in the late 60's. I like it because it contradicts much of my usual concerns about the use of the women's bodies within conventional gendered narratives. It carries a recurring theme that I have avoided or deferred for some time now, but this series is not about being rational. It's about sensing rather than censoring. In one of my early texts in the 90's, I heard myself referring to Diego Martin as " that suburban fungus on the landscape" what of this moment from my growing years would create such a reaction / description.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Dartmouth Sequence

Dartmouth sequence- Little Gestures

Image of the artist in the Dartmouth College exhibition space by photographer Joseph Mehling. This new group, from the ongoing Tropical Night project, I have called it "little gestures" because the image of the bench dominates and also as it feels a bit lighter in mood and tone than the sequence in New York.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Installing Tropical Night in Brooklyn

Christopher Cozier installing the Tropical Night drawings at the Brooklyn Museum, August 2007

Infinite Island, an exhibition of the work of forty-five contemporary artists from the Caribbean, opens tomorrow at the Brooklyn Museum. It includes an installation of two hundred of the Tropical Night drawings. At the museum blog, curatorial assistant Tamara Schechter describes the process of installing the drawings, which occupy their own small gallery off one of the larger spaces.

Infinite Island installation shot.

Installation shot courtesy the Brooklyn Museum

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Looking for stories

There is a kind of bibliophile’s parlour game in which you arrange books on a shelf so that the sequence of titles on their spines tells a story.

You might do something similar with the titles of the individual drawings in the Tropical Night series.

Feathered Bat Descending. In the Dance. Hop Skip Jump. Jump Up. Shot Call. Flight.

Coming and Going. Immersed in Explanations. Submerged.

Oxford Journey. Castaway. New World. Making Progress.

A Next Day. Sitting Here Watching. Open Seas. Day In, Day Out.

After the Fire. Crown. Thorns. Bird Stress. Air. The Hills. That Tree. The Hunger.

Another kind of narrative. Another way, perhaps, of not seeing the thing at hand, the marks on the piece of paper before me.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007


"Brown drawings". That is the name of the folder on my hard drive where I file the Tropical Night scans. Maybe Chris used this term at some point early in our conversations about the drawings. Maybe it was just the first thing that came to mind when I created the folder, more than a year ago--the label that my semi-conscious mind grabbed at to distinguish these from his earlier work.

Many of the drawings are literally "brown", composed largely in washes of sepia ink. Some are not. This is obvious. This is the artist's prerogative of medium. It is also obvious that the "brown-ness" is, more meaningfully, a mood. The dark brown of dried blood--

"the imagery as it unravels always seems to be in this dark, this dark murky space in which we are searching for light...."

--or the weary brown of an old photograph, but not the kind of photo that inspires nostalgia, like an old black-and-white snapshot of a Carnival costume from the 60s or 70s, and looking at it you feel the heat and dust of the moment, the weight of the costume and the stickiness and the headache noise, and you're glad you're not there; it might even be a moment from your own past that you're glad you don't have to relive. Or just a meteorological brown--

"a mood or tone I often feel on a dreary day, waiting for a taxi before it rains or going to some kind of daily routine...."

--a "brown-ness" of spirit familiar to anyone who grew up in the tropics, a "brown-ness" found only in this climate, like a film of dust over the bright blues and greens and yellows that are supposed to be the exemplary colours of the tropical landscape; the "brown" of that "shadowed space that is not between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. with intermittent clouds", as Chris puts it.

The murky brown of a situation or even a frame of mind when nothing is clear and too many layers of experience, too many kinds of memories and expectations, turn all your thoughts to mud. You stare out the window at a clean blue sky, or you stare down at a clean white page, but all you really see is the brown haze of not having an answer or not knowing what to do next. A brown night on a street in Belmont or Woodbrook. The brown at the bottom of my cup of coffee, when what seemed like the morning's fresh clarity turns out to be the same frustrating fog of last night.