Brooklyn-based street artist Swoon creates a monumental site-specific installation in the fifth-floor rotunda of the Brooklyn Museum
Swoon: Submerged Motherlands opens tomorrow, Friday, April 11. The installation centers on an approximately 60-foot-tall monumental sculptural tree, which rises into the rotunda's dome, with a constructed environment at its base. This constructed environment features Swoon's signature figurative prints and drawings, and cut-paper foliage.
The installation includes the rafts that Swoon created and sailed on the Grand Canal uninvited during the 2009 Venice Biennale. In this performance project, Swimming Cities of Serenissima, Swoon and a crew of thirty sailed from Slovenia to Venice on rafts made primarily of New York City garbage, collecting scrapped material in Slovenia, and artifacts and curiosities along their journey.
Known for her intricately-cut printed portraits situated on walls and abandoned buildings and, more recently, for her large-scale figurative installations, Swoon celebrates everyday people, while also exploring social and environmental issues. Often inspired by both historical and contemporary events, Swoon engages with climate change for this installation, particularly the catastrophic Hurricane Sandy that hit New York in 2012, and also Doggerland, a landmass that once connected Great Britain with Europe that was destroyed by a tsunami nearly 8,000 years ago. These places and events separated by thousands of years and miles form a salient image to draw upon and to explore the numerous and complex results of climate change.
Swoon, born Caledonia Dance Curry, studied at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, before bringing her art to the streets in 1999, wheat pasting her large linoleum- and woodcuts on the sides of the industrial buildings of Brooklyn and Manhattan. She has also become active in humanitarian projects: Konbit Shelter Project helps Haitians who lost their homes in the 2010 earthquake to create sustainable buildings; and her work on the Transformazium project in Braddock, Pennsylvania, works with local residents towards creative revitalization of their community. Her art is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate Modern, London, among others, and was featured in exhibitions at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2008), the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (2011), the New Orleans Museum of Art (2011), and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (2012).