Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Sara Cwynar

Mesmerising, complex work by Canadian photographer Sara Cwynar, who catalogues various histories - personal and broader-reaching - as well as exploring theories of colour and composition in her work. Sometimes working solely in-camera and other times mixing media and working on top of her final images, Cwynar attempts to catalogue diverse subjects in a dark take on the time honoured tradition of vanitas still life work. Her work "involves making strange versions of familiar images, finding examples of pre-existing 'archives' in the world waiting to be documented."

And for a recent project at Foam in Amsterdam, Cwynar undertook something even more ambitious: Everything In The Studio (Destroyed) entailed taking all of the materials in her studio at one time, documenting each item and arranging it into a digital plan where she could fit the entire contents into a corner of the gallery. She attempted to install the archive in the gallery 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 are the images seen at the bottom of this post - before, detail, and after. 

All images © Sara Cwynar