Deville Cohen spent two weeks at EMPAC shooting for his video work Zero, inspired in part by the television sci-fi drama The X-Files. Cohen takes closed narrative forms, like the television show structure of a crime scene—investigation and resolution—only to twist them apart. In doing so, the recognizable structure breaks down, becomes abstracted, and is exhausted, revealing the fragile qualities of the materials, devices, and logics he uses. Influenced by theater, sculpture, cinematography, and collage, Cohen creates abstract psychic dramas that are clearly handmade, but nonetheless visually and structurally complex. His performance-based photographs and video installations are made up of black-and white Xerox images as integral elements in their mise-en-scène. Sets, characters, and props are entangled in psychic dramas saturated with humor, desire, and anxiety.
Cohen was born in Israel, and lives and works in New York City. His work has been shown at SFMOMA and MoMA PS1.