Geometries of Desire
Krist Gruijthuijsen & Marvin Taylor
Geometries of Desire: An Interview with Dennis Cooper
Closer – The Dennis Cooper Papers profiled the influential literary figure of Dennis Cooper (1953, Pasadena, USA), acknowledging his important impact across literature, poetry, performance and visual art. Geometries of Desire: An Interview with Dennis Cooper was published alongside this exhibition.
The exhibition hinged on the George Miles Cycle (1989 – 2000), a series of interconnected novels that include graphic scenes of violence and desire, of pedophilia, mutilation and necrophilia. The complex structure of the cycle could be seen as literary sculpture; one that is layered and constructed out of geometrical forms.
Dennis Cooper’s literary aspirations were explored early on and often took the form of imitations of Rimbaud, Verlaine, De Sade, and Baudelaire. He wrote poetry and stories in his early teens that explored scandalous and often extreme subjects.
In 1987, Cooper moved to Amsterdam where he finished writing the first novel of the George Miles Cycle entitled Closer. Closer was awarded with the first Ferro-Gumley Award for gay literature and has since been translated into seventeen languages.
Cooper was 15 when he met George Miles, the 12-year old brother of a friend. They immediately became very close and continued their affection and friendship after George developed a severe bipolar disorder in his early teens, causing him to go through phases of serious depressions, manic episodes, suicide attempts and occasional periods of institutionalization.
In the early 80s, after they had been out of touch for over two years, Cooper began to write a cycle of novels in tribute to George, which consist of Closer (1989), Frisk (1991), Try (1994), Guide (1997) and Period (2000).
Over (the) years, I’d developed a game plan or overall structure for the cycle. It would take the form of a novel being gradually dismembered to nothing. The first novel would construct the themes, archetypes, subjects, style, and atmosphere of the cycle. (…) Each succeeding novel’s form would reflect the damage caused by the violence, drug use, and emotional turmoil of the previous novel. (…) Parallel to this dismemberment in stages, the structure would be a mirrored structure where the first novel would seem to gradually move through a mirror and eventually, over the course of the cycle, become a backwards reflection of itself.
Published by Kunstverein Publishing - Amsterdam | english | ed. 250 | ISBN 978-94-90629-00-7