Maxi Cohen, photographer, videographer and filmmaker. Her projects include Ladies Rooms
AroundThe World, Lush Aqua , Specimens of The Amazon, and The Art of the Pendulum.
Maxi’s work is in the permanent collections of the
Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Israeli Museum and other museums in the US and abroad.
For the last
thirty years, Maxi has been photographing (and more recently also making short films) in women's public LADIES ROOMS AROUND THE WORLD, from the Australian
Aboriginal outback to Zambian discos, Cannes Film Festival to Rio samba school, New York to Tel Aviv to Bombay.
The scope of the LADIES ROOMS AROUND THE WORLD includes photographs, a book, videos, installations, and a film.
An interactive website designed to collaborate with women around the world in media making is planned.
Ladies Rooms Around The World
by Maxi Cohen
My earliest recollection of my interest in
bathrooms was at the age of three. Bored with grown-ups talking in a foreign language in the overstuffed living room of relatives,
I explored the pink tile bathroom, that is, until I decided to just drive home alone. I made it as far as into a fence, which
I think was quite an accomplishment for one who couldn’t see over the steering wheel.
As I grew up, bathrooms were my favorite hiding place and the
one sanctuary of solitude. I am sure I could win an award for being the person who at parties, escaped the most to the bathroom.
I was always going. Lecturing myself into some courageous act, rehearsing how to be spontaneous, getting over an embarrassing
moment, or just hiding from being visible. As I got older, whether on business meetings or hot dates, I would retreat to the
ladies room to think, make decisions, plan strategies.
In 1980, I was in Miami for the Miami Film Festival. As the film awards were given out at a sit down dinner
in a hotel ballroom adorned with ice sculptures and fluorescent lighting, I was bored. I was there with a movie I had made
about my relationship with my father, “Joe and Maxi”, and when it was past the category I could win in, I went
roaming the floor in search of the ladies room. I hung out all night photographing the great dames of Miami in splendid jewels
and costumes, making up their eyebrows and noses, gluing their lashes, painting their lips and tightening their corsets. I
loved the tribal dance and I was hooked. I had found my instrument that gave me license to leave all boring activities.
My camera has been a best friend, challenging
me in a conversation that demands an engaging look, a reframing of the moment, a new window of perception. From Miami on,
I shot in ladies rooms around the world, as far as I have gone.
The photos are always the same format - me implicating myself in the process, in the
moment of that private ritual in that sanctuary of women. Someone pointed out to me when I first showed the pictures ten years
after that first night in Miami, that they really are a series of self-portraits. They were never conceived as such. But the
head on, post card shot, was the format of the first photograph and it has always remained the same.
For more than ten years I have been photographing
and videotaping lush minimal abstractions of water: Bali, Brazil, the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Zambezi, the Atlantic,
Pacific, Mediterranean, tiny water falls, canals, creeks, pools, and hot springs.
The original intention of the videos was to create
environments for meditation and shifting physiology. The first “Water Room” installation is
designed to project water on all six surfaces of the room. “Falling”, a video of gushing Victoria
Falls in extreme close up, was envisioned to create a pathway with 10-12 foot panels on either side of the walker.
Water Videos can be used in different ways, from being housed in a frame like a photograph, to a complex projection on a wall
or walls. Any way in which they are shown, seems to mesmerize the viewer, accomplishing the original intention.
Audio designed for deep healing and meditation, some created by monks, others from sound healers, composers, and scientists
accompany the images. Audio and video can accommodate your needs and budget.
See More of Maxi Cohen's Work
Commissions and Prices upon request.