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Courtesy: Nick Cocozza

Scope BLN



Hero to Zero 

Solo exhibition by Nick Cocozza

Opening: Friday May 31, 6 p.m.

Artist Talk and Finissage: June 21, 6 p.m.

"Not all heroes wear capes; sometimes they wear the scars of their own failures." 

Joseph Campbell


Hero to Zero solo show exhibits new pieces that usher in a significant development in the artist’s style. Nick Cocozza, a painter and trained illustrator, has merged these twin disciplines into something much bolder and more evocative than what we’ve seen before. 

The subject of the ‘hero’ is something that the artist has focused on significantly throughout his body of work, drawing inspiration from 80s and 90s pop culture, music, and Saturday-morning cartoons. This exhibition focuses more specifically on the idea of ' ‘The Hero’s’ Journey’ or “monomyth’’ - a broad category of tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in the face of crisis, and finally returns home irrevocably changed. 

The artist draws from his own childhood experiences of growing up in working class Scotland, his adolescence in Essex, and adult life in Berlin to form the central backdrop for this visual journey. Weaving moments, memories, and other snapshots from his experiences into the works, Cocozza takes the viewer on this journey with him. In this case, it is not so much about the Hero’s journey, but the Anti-Hero’s journey, challenging the archetype of the hero in modern day culture.

This body of work makes no apologies for itself, it is the Anti-Hero’s journey, it subverts our established redemptive narratives in favour of confronting a darker self; one embodied by self-destructive forces - violence, lust, and other sins. 

At the same time the artist doesn’t cast any judgement on the characters who occupy his artworks. He completely rejects the twee fairy tale belief in a struggle between good and evil, instead he understands that the mythological struggle of opposing forces is an allegory for the internal struggle we must all face between doing right and wrong, one that indelibly shapes us for better or worse into the individuals we are to become.

In this show the artist presents large scale canvases and experiments with the pop-up book format, taking something which at first glance appears childish and converts it into a mutated form, enlarged and deeply twisted; a dark well in which to view uncomfortable truths; a mirror that offers a backward reflection of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Story.

If there is salvation in this anti-hero’s journey, it is found in the pursuit of escape and transformation. The artworks depict a journey that begins in Glenrothes, Scotland, before moving on to Essex in England, and finally culminating in Berlin. Yet, rather than a conventional happy ending, this story is more focused on transformation—a journey toward something better, something realer. 

Through numerous transformations and quests, Cocozza’s character grows wiser, gaining a deeper understanding of the world. Even amidst seemingly happy, welcoming places, there's an acknowledgment of underlying dangers and sins. However, this realisation doesn't darken the narrative; instead, it underscores the resilience and adaptability of the human spirit through perseverance and struggle. An alchemical transmutation of lead into gold.

Text: Mark O'Leary

About the artist:

Nick Cocozza was born in 1986 in Fife, Scotland. His work is inspired by childhood memories 90s pop culture, music and personal life experiences. Cocozza studied fine art before graduating in illustration from Duncan of Jordanstone college of art and design in Scotland. His passion for visual storytelling has led him to work on a diverse range of projects including work for a number of record labels, magazines, and set designs for movies. He currently lives and works in Berlin.

Opening: Friday, May 31 at 6 p.m.

Artist Talk & Finissage: Friday, June 21 at 6 p.m.

Scope BLN

Lübecker Str. 43 10559 Berlin

Opening hours:

Thursday 1 - 7 pm

Friday 1 - 7 pm

Saturday 3 - 6 pm

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