Next Level: Sara Cwynar

Sara Cwynar is a leading artist of her generation. Seeking to make sense of our current visual culture, she uses photography, video works, collages, installations and books to tell stories. In her studio, she collects and documents images and objects to identify the ways how these everyday materials shape our lives as we consume them.

About the work

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. New work will premiere in her solo exhibition alongside, among others, the video work Red Film (2018), which uses the perfect red lipstick to reveal and critique what and why we buy, what this says about society's expectations, how our desire is constantly fed, and what value we ascribe to all these products we surround ourselves with.

Cwynar explores, like an anthropologist of our contemporary economy of endless choice, 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.

Watch Red Film (2018)

Still from: Red Film Sara Cwynar

About the artist

Next Level: Sara Cwynar marks a long-standing relationship between Foam and the artist, 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); LACMA, Los Angeles (2020); Museum of Modern Art (2019); the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (2019); Milwaukee Art Museum (2019); Oakville Galleries (2018); Minneapolis Institute of Art (2018); Museum für Moderne Kunst (2017); Fondazione Prada (2016); and MoMA PS1 (2015). Her work is included in the collections of museums such as the Guggenheim Museum (New York), SFMoMA (San Francisco), Centre Pompidou (Paris), MoMA (New York) and Foam. 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. Sara Cwynar lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and is represented by Cooper Cole, Toronto and The Approach, London.

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 at pressoffice@foam.org.

Next Level: Sara Cwynar is made possible by Ammodo and the Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds.

Foam is supported by the VriendenLoterij, Foam Members, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, the VandenEnde Foundation and the city of Amsterdam.

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Next Level: Sara Cwynar