De Soto Gallery is pleased to present Alma Haser’s Cosmic Surgery. The photographic series has three components: 2D portraits, 3D portraits, and free standing paper sculptures. The exhibition, Haser’s first with the gallery, will include brand new pieces made especially for the occasion.
Cosmic surgery is imagined as a medical procedure that people can choose in the not so distant future for aesthetic enhancement, mood alteration, and to thwart increasingly pervasive methods of surveillance. Combining photography with collage and origami, Haser's playfully odd portraits consider the link between identity and image in a culture of visual bombardment. She suggests a fundamental shift in the way we understand ourselves and the world around us, picturing the possibility of a trans-humanist future.
This concept is expanded in the second edition of the accompanying monograph; it contains a number of pop-up constructions and a fictional text by science journalist, Piers Bizony, that reads like a patient brochure touting the benefits of this radical technology.
With a subdued palette similar to a hand-painted photograph and classical poses, the portraits seem out of a different time, almost as if we are looking back. The 3D versions have a sci-fi, brain in a jar quality, like elegant specimens preserved for posterity. In the same manner, the individual origami sculptures register like the vestiges of former beings plucked from their hosts to be put on display.
Alma Haser (b. 1990, Black Forest, Germany) received a Ba(Hons) in Photography in Art Practice from Nottingham Trent University. She won the Magenta Foundation’s Bright Spark Award for Cosmic Surgery in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery for an earlier series, The Ventriloquist, in 2012. She has had recent solo and group exhibitions at The Photographer’s Gallery in London and at Unseen in Amsterdam.