Artist: Sara Cwynar
Venue: Cooper Cole, Toronto
Exhibition Title: Three Hands
Date: October 28 – December 4, 2016
Full gallery of images, press release, and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Cooper Cole, Toronto
I found these pictures in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. They were taken in South Korea, in the 1970’s. They are likely the kind that businessmen would take on business trips and bring back to the office to show to their colleagues as slideshows. In this period of rapid industrialization, a visiting Kenyan businessman is passing through a new factory under construction.
The photos are 40 years old, on the other side of the world, but there is a lot to relate to – misunderstandings between people from different places, the position of a woman in a maledominated realm, the performance of a workplace. I started with these photos, thinking through the setting of the office and the origins of commercial production. I thought about the bodies as they are photographed, the particular body language of men and the hand gestures of women, the choreography of a multinational business transaction.
The business trip images remind me of what you can and can’t know from looking at a set of pictures. What were they making here? Who was the one woman in the photos? What happened before, or after? What words were being spoken? There is a line from Lacan: “you never look at me from the place I see you,” and I think of how you can never look at a picture of someone from the same experience, or subjectivity, or place from which they look back at you.
In Three Hands, Sara Cwynar presents 11 new works of photography including two large-scale diptychs featuring a billboard-sized rendition of a woman’s hands. Another work, a large-scale text piece, brings together her own writing with a collected archive of texts and images. The exhibition combines portraits and studio still lifes to consider old questions of what photography makes visible and invisible, and what it means to look to the roots of today’s late capitalist condition.
Sara Cwynar (b. 1985, Vancouver, Canada) received her Bachelor of Design from York University, Toronto, Canada in 2010 and her MFA from Yale University, New Haven, USA in 2016. Her work involves a constant archiving and re-presentation of collected visual materials. She is interested in the way that images morph, accumulate, endure and change in meaning and value over time, and the effect this has on a collective worldview. Cwynar has exhibited internationally at COOPER COLE, Toronto, Canada; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; M+B Gallery, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, Foxy Production, Andrea Rosen, Eleven Rivington, New York, USA; Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy. Her works can be found in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, MoMA Library, New York; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, USA; Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany; amongst others. Cwynar currently lives and works in Brooklyn, USA.