Next Level: Sara Cwynar
S/S 23

Sara Cwynar is a leading artist of her generation. She seeks to make sense of our current visual culture through photography, essayistic video works, collages, installations and books. In her studio, she collects and documents images and objects to identify the ways that these everyday materials shape our lives as we consume them. In this way, she captures the prevailing ideals and ideologies of an era.

About the exhibition

A common thread in Cwynar's work is her ongoing research into the effects of consumerism on subconsciously shaped beauty and lifestyle ideals and how these shape our self-image. Much of her work specifically focuses on the female consumer: from the cultural phenomenon of the New Woman of the turn of the nineteenth century until now. The exhibition title, S/S 23, is the usual designation for the new fashion season – in this case 'Spring/Summer 2023'. It refers to the trends that come and go, that keep pushing us to buy new products and conform to new ideals.

Like an anthropologist of our contemporary economy of endless choice, Sara Cwynar explores what the products, colours and images are with which we constantly shape our lives and identities and how they change over time. Through her work, she encourages the viewer to go beneath the surface of capitalism and modern visual culture to discover what is ‘real’. The outcome is a detailed examination of the mechanisms that guide and determine our perception, making her work as seductive as it is disturbing.

Contemporary Floral Arrangement - #144551 (1967) #2 The Relationship is a Matter of Style, 2023 © Sara Cwynar.
Still from Red Film, 2018 © Sara Cwynar.
Doll Index 1, 1779-1950, 2022 © Sara Cwynar, courtesy of the artist
Pamela as Pamela, 2023 © Sara Cwynar.

About the artist

S/S 23 marks a long-standing relationship between Foam and Sara Cwynar, who first exhibited in Amsterdam at Foam 3h in 2013 with her solo Everything in the Studio (Destroyed). In 2015, she was also chosen as one of the Foam Talents and featured in Foam Magazine #38: Talent and the eponymous exhibition Under Construction - New Positions in American Photography presented by Foam in 2014, which travelled on to Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY.

In the ten years since her first solo at Foam, her career has swiftly taken off: Cwynar has participated in solo and group exhibitions at international museums including Remai Modern, Saskatoon (2021); The Guggenheim Museum, New York (2021); Fondazione Prada (2016); and MoMA PS1 (2015). In 2021, Aperture published her second book Glass Life and she has won several awards in recent years, including the Ammodo Tiger Short Award, twice for her video works Rose Gold (2017) and Red Film (2018) at IFFR.

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Still from Red Film, 2018 © Sara Cwynar.

Walk-in Workshop

During this interactive workshop, you will view and discuss some of Sara Cwynar's photographic works together with our experienced museum teachers. Drawing inspiration from Cwynar's work, you will get the chance to create and photograph your own collage, which will be printed for you to take home.

The workshop is free and suitable for all ages. Join us every Sunday from 14.00 – 16.00 hrs. From 26 July until 30 August, you are also welcome every Wednesday from 14.00 –16.00 hrs.

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Louis Vuitton Jeff Koons Rubens Bag, 2020 © Sara Cwynar.

About Next Level

Since 2015, Foam, with support from Ammodo, has organised the Next Level exhibition series, which aims to introduce innovative art by contemporary artists who are progressive in their use of the medium of photography to a wide audience. Previous editions have featured work by Anne de Vries, Melanie Bonajo, Anouk Kruithof, Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, Dominic Hawgood and Jonathas de Andrade. For Next Level, Foam invites artists to create new work that will be premiered in the exhibition.

For more information or press requests, please see here or contact our press office.

Next Level: Sara Cwynar – S/S 23 is made possible by Ammodo, the Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds and Kleurgamma Fine Art Photolab. Foam thanks Stichting Foam Friends and Foam Fund for their generous support.  

Model in an unusual pose and fake smile posing in a studio.

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Next Level: Sara Cwynar
S/S 23