Swoon – A Peak Inside “The Archivist’s Circle”

Old, rare, nearly lost pieces of Swoon are rotating through her new The Archivist’s Circle online, along with small editions of recreated pieces like the first sticker designs, wallpapers, paper cuts, and linoleum blockprints. Prepping for her first major museum retrospective next month at CAC Cincinnati covering her street-to-studio-to-waterways-to-Haiti-to-museum career over the last 15 years, the Brooklyn Street Artist says that she’s been doing some serious crate digging.

Swoon. Hello My Name Is. 1999. These stickers, hand made were one of Swoon’s earliest street art projects. (photo courtesy @ Swoon Studio)

“It’s the first time that I synthesize the entire story of my creative progression, from the moment that I turned away from oil painting and began to carve my first linoleum blocks for the street, to the home building work in Haiti, (and everything in between) into a single exhibition. I’m beginning to understand this show as a coming of age story,” she says by way of introducing the new companion website.

Swoon. Fence Jump. 2000. Swoon’s first linoleum block created for the street. (photo courtesy @ Swoon Studio)

Just looking through the imagery on the site is educational, aiding one’s understanding of the evolution that an artist can go through, and how their taste and focus changes. Accompanying text with some of the pieces also gives context to the topics and worldview the artist had at the time she created the work.

Along with “Siamese Skeleton Fish” for example, we learn how the artist sees the dual swimmers that she exhibited as part of the show “Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea” which floated down the East River to the shores of Long Island City in 2008, where we watched Swoon and 30 or so raft mates disembark and lead us into her exhibition at Deitch Projects.

Swoon. Grandpa OVE. 2001. This is Swoon’s first ever paper cut portrait, depicting her grand father here. In the following 15 years of her career paper cut portraits became part of Swoon’s vernacular on the streets and helped define her career.  (photo courtesy @ Swoon Studio)

“The imagery on the walls was drawn from coastal cities, from the sea and from the mangrove swamps that Swoon explored in her Florida youth. She was inspired by the way the trees in the mangrove swamps send out huge networks of roots, both below and above the water, creating two parallel ecosystems. Above the imaginary waterline, Swoon created the image of a city rising from the sea. Below the waterline, another city reflected, yet diverged. This city echoed the subconscious mind and spoke to the vulnerability of coastal cities in an age of rising seas.”

Swoon. Siamese Skeleton Fish. (photo courtesy @ Swoon Studio)

It’s a fascinating trip for a Saturday, The Archivists Circle, and most likely a temporary one.


Click HERE to visit Swoon’s Archivist Circle and support her project