b. 1985, Vancouver, Canada. Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
Sara Cwynar is interested in how objects of desire can lose their lustre or gain an aura over time. Gathering items from eBay and second-hand stores, she arranges, photographs, prints, collages, and re-shoots this material to form new arrangements and associations. In Islamic Dome (Plastic Cups) and Corinthian Column (Plastic Cups), both 2014, Cwynar builds on the aesthetic similarities between the shapes of stacked kitchen vessels and details of classical and ancient architecture encountered in old encyclopaedias. Recently Cwynar has begun to make essayistic narrated videos, such as Soft Film (2016), combining stills and footage shot in the studio alongside fragments of text she scripts. The viewer is taken on journey through a myriad narrative strands sparked by collected images, including studio portraits from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1930s, pre-9/11 postcards of the World Trade Centre, and amateur snaps of a 1970s Kenyan business trip to South Korea. Cwynar explores how popular and sentimental images work on our psyches to smooth over imbalances of power: a ‘soft misogyny’ as she terms it.