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The exhibition is based on the cover of the Rolling Stones album Their Satanic Majesties Request.
It follows his "Sgt P" exhibition of 2007, which was a sculptural homage to the Beatle's Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.
"I build everything upside-down," Cooper said yesterday.
"It's about not having too much control, which will hopefully provide me with something new.
Most of the characters seem to suggest themselves."
The characters include The Beatles, Lauren Bacall and Lawrence of Arabia.
Cooper said he spent about four and a-half months creating the 970 pieces in the exhibition.
"But I did nothing else. No housework, no washing. I'd hear the phone ringing, but I couldn't find it."
A ceramics lecturer at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art, Cooper says he is influenced by pop icons and celebrities, "to create a ugly beautiful exhibition which reflects the media, culture and how we portray ourselves and others".
"Peppermint and Incense" is on in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery until February 1.
Entry is free.