Michael Coppelov

The Seven Bridges of Köningsberg

Jackson’s Painting Prize 2020
160 x 200cm

“The French philosopher Giles Deleuze used the rhizome as a model for the description of the systems which underpin our world. In botany, the word rhizome’s etymology originates from the ancient Greek meaning, ‘mass of roots’. Essentially, it is a plant stem which distributes roots and shoots from its node, growing horizontally, allowing the roots to grow vertically, the whole thing becoming a mass of connections. It is these unseen connections of the world – those non-linear, decentralised, tentacle-like sprawling networks of interconnectedness which Michael Coppelov’s paintings explore.

The paintings take on the form of an early 90’s computer game such as Transport Tycoon, in order the exploit the elevation of the viewer to a god-like position. In these games, the viewer-player is presented with a world below which they have to impose order upon and rule. Like the sprawling chaotic hospitals of Theme Hospital, or the mega-cities of Sim City, the whole landscape in Michael’s paintings is saturated with information. This mass of controls or information traps the viewer within the limits of the painting, like Jorge Luis Borges’ novel, On Exactitude in Science, where the whole landscape of an empire was covered in a 1:1 scale map.”