All posts tagged: Site Specific Installation

Hot Tea Lights Memorial Luminaries About Loss on Library Steps

Hot Tea Lights Memorial Luminaries About Loss on Library Steps

Site Specific Installation at NY Public Library for New Yorkers

On a recent evening in mid-town Hot Tea lit a candle for those we’ve lost. 180 of them actually.

A conceptual public art piece on the steps of the Mid Manhattan Library, the Street Artist who is known for tagging isometrically with yarn on fences summoned a bevy of volunteers to share the memory of someone they lost by writing a remembrance on the back of a brown paper bag and joining in a collective open ceremony to lift the spirit, lighten the load.

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I wanted to depict the grand stairs of the library at night with 180 bags dimly lit by tea lights,” says the soft spoken Minneapolis based Street Artist who has successfully installed his non-destructive public works around the city while people walk by. Perhaps because of the gravity of the theme of loss, the volunteers worked quietly and with certitude filling paper sacks with sand and candles and carefully lighting them while tourists bought fluorescent propeller toys for their kids from sidewalk entrepreneurs and people posed alongside the marble lions named “Patience” and “Fortitude”.

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

After the luminaries were lit a faint Hot Tea pattern could be discerned across the new façade atop six risers, but mostly it was a warm flickering glow on a breeze-free late spring eve. Participants and passersby posed in front of the temporary holy place, a photographer with a drone recorded the scene from 20 feet above and tourists held up their multitudes of tablets and phones to record. Finally Hot Tea invited mourners and others to gather arms around shoulders to say a prayer and pass strength to one another. People were encouraged to take a hand-scribed bag that remembered someone else with them.

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Sixe Paredes ‘Futurismo Ancestral’ Opens at Somerset House in London

Sixe Paredes ‘Futurismo Ancestral’ Opens at Somerset House in London

Starting today, for one week only, the Andes will be inside the Somerset House.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

London’s spectacular neo-classical home of arts and culture along the River Thames will play host to an all-encompassing exhibition experience mounted by the Barcelona-born graffiti artist Six Paredes in his tribute to Peruvian and Andean culture. Futurismo Ancestral: An Offering to Peru by Sixe Paredes has been inspired by the traditional and the modern, and aims to meld the two together surreally, and really.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

For weeks we have been seeing the progress of a loosely banded consortium of brother street artists laying plans and constructing exhibition elements beneath the fountained public courtyard. Today the public can experience a series of walkways leading to large-scale and smaller works evoking the rich color and symbols of the region; tapestries, totem sculptures, ceramics and quipus (a system of knotted cords known as ‘talking knots’), masks and fluorescent chichas (posters).

“We are taking over three spaces at Somerset House, essentially the whole of the lower floor of the building,” explains Rafael Schacter of A(by)P, an organization that enables artists to produce events and exhibit work and who organized the installation with his partners and the Somerset House. Built and installed by a “dream team” of urban and street artists and students from University College London, where Schacter teaches, the exhibition is complemented with daily interactive events including Peruvian and Andean food, music, film, and performance.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

Futurismo Ancestral is born from the travels of Sixe Paredes to Peru beginning in 2009 and his adoration of the richness he experienced in the culture compelled him to bring it back to share. One of the six street artists featured on the river façade of the Tate Modern six years ago along with Faile, JR, Blu, Os Gemeos, and Nunca for it’s pivotal street art exhibition, Six Paredes completed his most recent large scale wall just last month at the Biennale D’Art Urbain in Charleroi, Belgium.  Schacter, who co-curated the Street Art expo at that Tate show and who authored The World Atlas of Street Art & Graffiti with Yale in 2013, says that this return is Paredes first major solo show in the UK .

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

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Sixe Paredes spotting the future on the horizon. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

During the preparation for this much anticipated and lively show, BSA had the opportunity to speak with both Six Paredes and Rafael Schacter about the origins, inspirations, and preparations for Futurismo Ancestral.

Brooklyn Street Art: After touring Peru and being exposed to such eye-popping color, isn’t it surprising to be in such a grey northern city like London?
Sixe Paredes: It was not surprising for me to come here and find myself in a grey city because this color predominates in so many cities in Europe and so many European cities prohibit murals and even have specialized brigades set up to clean and remove color. Throughout my journey in different regions of Peru I’ve seen a lot of color but color can be found in all the different cultures of the world, when they maintain their primordial essence.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Sandra Butterfly)

Brooklyn Street Art: Rafael, can you tell us about Futurismo Ancestral and how it came about?
Rafael Schacter: Futurismo Ancestral is all about the connection between the traditional and the contemporary, the fusion of the Peruvian visual culture and craft tradition with the visual palette so unique to Sixe Paredes himself. Since I last worked with Sixe in the UK, he has been living in between Peru and his hometown of Barcelona, he has become obsessed with the visual culture of the region and has learned the techniques of ceramic and textile production with famous artisans and artists throughout the region. This exhibition is about bringing together the deep history and heritage of Peruvian visual culture, and his love for this tradition with his unique, colorful, distinct style in an all embracing, multifaceted manner.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

Brooklyn Street Art: Sixe Paredes, you have already been incorporating a certain minimalism into your aesthetics over the past ten years. Is it difficult to merge that understated quality with the vibrant enthusiasm of Peruvian and Andean folk?
Sixe Paredes: My art has always been characterized by the agglomeration of shapes and colors. Throughout different periods I started introducing more elements, such as the circuits, which led my paintings towards another dimension – this dimension enhanced my painting, allowing for other interpretations of my work. In recent years I have been synthesizing some of my series. I like to play with this idea because it leaves more room for reflection and I don’t need as many elements to express myself. Some of these elements are iconic to my work, such as crests or beaks which have always been in my compositions and can be found there today.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

Brooklyn Street Art: The work here is simultaneously modern and folk – with the bold colors and raw patterning and symbols combined with a certain minimalism. Rafael, can you walk us through the spaces in a way that helps translate this convivial duality in an exhibition space.
Rafael Schacter: Somerset House is really an amazing location for us to be working in, we are both proud and excited to be working here! After you have exited our introductory area, our visitors will go outside into the Lighwells, an amazing outside space which has been used for films such as Sherlock Holmes among others; within this arched space, we have built a series of 3 meter high trapezoidal arches – shapes which are highly significant in Inca culture. Acting as a rite of passage, as a journey from one sacred space to another, visitors well make their way into what is called the Deadhouse, an underground catacomb which exists directly below the famous Somerset House courtyard. This space, aptly, will function as a sacred temple space, within which Sixe’s ceramics, quipus and tapestries will be housed.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

Brooklyn Street Art: Not only are the color palettes from the traditional Peruvian culture warm, so too are the materials. Can you talk about the warmer, more earthen properties of wood, of yarn, and hand made masks – and how they affect your work?
Sixe Paredes: Peru has had a considerable influence on my painting palette, bringing more color to it and motivating me to use new mediums, materials and techniques, some of which have endured since ancient times. I always wanted to move towards a new path, a more ancestral path, revalidating primal techniques through a contemporary perspective.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have a stellar group supporting this one week event – some of these folks have had big shows of their own so it’s good to see them supporting another artist.
Rafael Schacter: One of the key things about A(by)P is that we want to be for artists by artists. We don’t want to simply get in a bunch of contractors to assist in bringing the project to life but want rather to recreate the group dynamic and energy that is so crucial to these artists’ worlds. As such, for every project, we want to bring the artist’s family together to help bring it to life; in that way, the creative juices and creative possibilities can flow in a much more organic manner. And not only that, but all these artists on the team are people who we will  continue to work with in the future on solo shows of their own.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

For Sixe’s show for example, we really have got a dream team working together, a group who like you say are all artists of massive acclaim themselves. Both Eltono and Nano4814 are two of my favourite artists in the world; Eltono has just had a superb solo homecoming show in Madrid at Slowtrack and Nano4814 and insane solo show at the Delimbo Gallery in Sevilla. Pablo Limon, our exhibition designer is one of the most amazing makers I have ever come across, a creative genius. And Lucas Cantu, who is working on our graphics, branding and exhibition production, is the director of the Savvy Studios as well as the founder of the Nrmal Festival in Mexico.  As I said, the dream team! And then alongside this we have had amazing support from the students of University College London, who have all been absolutely incredible.

 

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

Brooklyn Street Art: Many Street Artists are bringing the animal world into their work today and sometimes artists will say they are giving the animals a voice to speak to us. How have animals been important in your compositions?
Six Paredes: In my case, the animal theme has been present in my work for many years, and this partly because of the admiration I feel for them. For me, among the most fascinating creatures of the animal kingdom are birds, mainly because of the wide variety of species, thousands of colours and silhouettes – and their relationship to the celestial and to flight. In terms of my compositions, this theme is important to me because it reminds us that we are also animals within the same world.

Brooklyn Street Art: In what way do you think of your work as something that evokes the future?
Six Paredes: I think my work evokes the future because it merges two different visions, the ancient and the contemporary and the bond between them which leads us to reflect about many of the things that humans have left on their way and some of them I think would be important to remember.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Sandra Butterfly)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Sandra Butterfly)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Sandra Butterfly)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Sandra Butterfly)

Sixe Paredes Futurismo Ancestral: An Offering To Peru at Somerset House in London, UK.  Click HERE for more information on this exhibition.

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands”, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Museum

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands”, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Museum

Six years ago these boats of salvaged materials were floating down the Hudson, teaming with twenty-something sea-worthy souls and bohemian performers in costume aiming for the dock at Deitch Studios. This week they are beached up against the base of a massive seven story soft sculpture tree for the opening of Swoon: Submerged Motherlands at the Brooklyn Museum. In between these events each vessel has travelled down the Mississippi River and also crossed the Adriatic Sea from Slovenia to ceremoniously crash the Venice Biennale.

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The view of the top at “Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Newly arrived through U.S. Customs on New York shores from Italy, the seaworthy works of art have returned “home” to Brooklyn as Swoon, the Florida native who came to New York as an art school student, has called it for seventeen years. A singular Street Artist who once wheat-pasted her hand cut portraits anonymously in hidden city doorways, she is also known for her fervently collaborative projects that have carried her to galleries, museums and socially-rooted arts activism in places like Kenya, Haiti, London, Oaxaca, New Orleans, Miami, Braddock (Pennsylvania), Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

No matter where Caledonia Dance Curry goes, there is usually a cadre of handsome and delightful crafters and co-creators in tow; talented friends and valued confidants who help bring her ideas and vision to fruition. While she is clearly at the helm, this dynamic exceeds the typical artist and her studio paradigm; hers is rooted in a regard for collaboration, community, experimentation, and discovery. Oh, and a bit of theater.

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Fire extinguishers in the foreground and rear during the multi-layered preparation of the exhibition for “Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We are pouring so much into this show and for me I think part of the reason I’m willing to do it is because it is my home. The museum has been awesome and they have given me as much as they can and I have just thrown everything at it because I’m like ‘I’m home, this is my place.’ For me this show is different from installations I have done in other museums and other places,” Swoon explains.

Managing Curator of Exhibitions at the museum, Sharon Matt Atkins, talks about the command of the space and its transformational effect. “Swoon did not hold back in fully utilizing our grand rotunda gallery. She has been working for three and a half weeks at the museum with a large team to get the installation ready. Much of the work involved assembling parts made in the studio, but then bringing it all together with the finishing details onsite,” she says.

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail of the top of the tree. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Sharon brought me in here and said, “What is interesting to you in the building?” and I really love that because the thing about working on the street is that you are always thinking site-specifically. And so that thinking has to translate into your work in all places. For me if I make something in a museum I want it to be very site-specific and this is probably one of the most site-specific pieces I’ve ever done,” explains Swoon.

Under the advice and guidance of an engineer, the artist also modified her design process to allow for foundational considerations like truss sections and lift points. “I showed him an initial model and he showed me an engineered system and then I built another model based on the system that he engineered.”

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It is probably unusual for a grand museum to be so amenable to the requests of an artist for a site specific piece that literally inhabits the furthest reaches of a space, and Swoon says she recognizes the leeway she received. “You know, they have been really adventurous in letting us create this. We’ve been sort of pushing a lot with the creation of this piece.”

For Matt Atkins, the opportunity to bring an internationally known street artist and neighbor into the museum has been the result of just over two years of planning. “It’s been so wonderful working with Swoon to realize her vision for this project. This is the first time we’ve really used the full height of the 72-foot dome, so it’s quite spectacular. I am thrilled to see her boats back in New York and for them to have this new life. The underlying ideas about climate change in the installation also make this project an appropriate tie in to the Museum’s focus on activism with our other exhibitions and collections,” she says.

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Guests who walk into the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery on the fifth floor will need to crane their gaze upward to see the full expanse of the tree that reaches to the cupola, now embroidered across the sky’s light with her lace patterning. Softly gnarled limbs are clustered with outsized and filigreed leaves that cast shadows on the maritime layers of sprayed blue washes streaming to the floor.

Looking up at the multi-textured and tinted bark that skillfully, if playfully, emulates the trunk of a tree, Swoon talks about the demands of production. “We worked it all out in the studio and then we just spent weeks tearing and shredding and dying the fabric, cutting out paper leaves, and building up these kind of “roots”, crocheting pieces, putting dyed fabric on them, sewing sleeves for the rings to put dyed fabric on – It’s just been immense! It’s one of those things where I’ve never built something on this scale so I really don’t realize how much energy it absorbs when it is that size.”

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” The fabrics used to build the bark of the tree trunk were custom dyed and are shown here at the studio drying. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

To contemplate the rotunda installation and the finer details of the rough rafts Swoon provides an equally festooned gazebo to rest on and nearby linotype images of caretaking and motherhood to see — including a more recent portrait of the artists’ own mother that has also been spotted wheat-pasted in the street.

“So I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘home’ and this installation is about home and the loss of home in a lot of ways. When I decided on ‘Submerged Motherlands’ I was thinking about climate change and thinking about “Sandy”. Also my own mother passed away while I was in the ideation stage for the installation so I was thinking about the loss of my own mother and that relationship and it all just kind of merged together,” she says.

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail of the bottom part of the gazebo. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: When you speak of your mother passing during the ideation and the title of the show I look at your work and I think of it as a kind of maternal act, of caretaking, of providing shelter. I wonder if there is any relationship between this concept of motherhood and caretaking that feels true to you.
Swoon: I guess the thing that I think of is almost an impulse to build a safe space in the world for myself and my community; some place to be a little bit different from the norm. Then also that same impulse kind of extended outward to projects like working in Haiti after the earthquake and trying to create literal shelter.

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Thinking about site-specificity and its importance in your work, many of your installations on the street are in the unpolished, eroded areas of town. Contrast that with a museum environment like this where everything is clean and crisp – it occurred to me that you created that same unpolished environment by taking the fire extinguishers and blasting them across the walls.
Swoon: Oh my god the funnest tool ever!

Brooklyn Street Art: Have you used fire extinguishers before?
Swoon: You know what? I never have. Honestly it was just one of those things where I was just like, “How do I get a lot of paint up quickly?” – and I just thought about the fire extinguishers. I mean people use those – it is such an amazing tool. Big props to Craig (Costello), to Krink, who is such a pioneer with that. I never had used it before. I usually take care not to simulate the street environment but maybe that kind of just happened.

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: And when it comes to your work and this installation, you don’t like to talk about metaphors.
Swoon: Well, its not that I don’t want to talk about them – its that I think you can get too literal. I think that part of the strength of the arts is that you try to leave a little openness for the parts of our minds that are a little bit less rational and that don’t have this strict linear codex of how you interpret something. Like in the way that the Motherlands theme has so many different kinds of interpretations and layering – I think it is important to keep that kind of richness.

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The artist Swoon at work on the installation. “Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail of one of the boats. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail of one of the boats. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail shot of the interior wall of one of the boats. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” View through one of the boats. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail of the gazebo ceiling. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A portrait of the artist at the base of the tree for “Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Swoon: Submerged Motherlands runs April 11–August 24, 2014 at The Brooklyn Museum. For more information visit the museum website HERE.

Join BSA and Swoon on April 24th
In Conversation: Brooklyn Street Art
Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
For more information go HERE.

 

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This article was also published on The Huffington Post

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