Sara Cwynar

For the installation Everything In The Studio (Destroyed), Sara Cwynar took all of the materials in her studio, documented each item and arranged it into a digital plan where she could fit the entire contents into a corner of the gallery.

The piece begins with a text by Andy Warhol where he explains that he "hates nostalgia" so rather than keeping any of his saved mementos and ephemera around, he puts everything in labeled boxes and stores it in New Jersey before eventually throwing it away. He doesn't want to live with his saved materials but he can't immediately discard them either. This project is Sara Cwynar’s version of that idea: that the influence of an archive on an art practice is strong, but can also be overwhelming.

Sara Cwynar attempted to install the archive according to the plan, which quickly began to fall apart as images and objects were not how she had remembered them. She left the materials for a month, then destroyed the whole thing so that she would be forced to purge the archive - allowing herself to start anew, and documenting everything only with a camera. All that remains of this studio's worth of materials is the image.

This exhibition has been made possible by Van Bijlevelt Stichting and the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund.

Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, City of Amsterdam, Delta Lloyd, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.

Sara Cwynar (b.1985, Vancouver) is a New York-based artist. She is represented by Cooper Cole gallery in Toronto. This show in 3h is her first solo show in Europe.

The work of Sara Cwynar in photography, installations and collage begins in obsessively collecting and ordering visual materials. Saving, taking and re-composing images in her art practice is a cathartic means of satisfying a constant impulse. She has to collect (even to hoard)  and to create a tangible record of that experience, grabbing a small piece of the world and reconstituting it under her own terms. The resulting archive is composed of images saved from years of photo-taking, from encyclopedias, flea markets, and people she knows, as well as objects she encounters.

In this process of accumulation and the resulting collection, she is interested in the ways in which we understand the world through pictures:  how we view ourselves and our history through a shared image-based archive built from cultural fantasies and photographic tropes (examples include the commercial still life, the family portrait, the headshot and the landscape photograph). She is constructing her own personal archive as a way of intervening into the larger archive which she cannot control, and considering the life of photographs over time, especially at this time of change for the medium.

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Sara Cwynar