Corin Sworn

Corin Sworn : Unsettling Provenance
8 October – 20 December 2011

Visual artist Corin Sworn (b. 1976 London) was raised in Canada and currently lives and works between Glasgow and Vancouver.

After studying Psychology and Art History at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1999), Sworn obtained a BFA, Integrated Media from the Emily Carr Institute of the Arts (2002) and an MFA from the Glasgow School of Art (2009).

Working with various media including drawing, film, video, sculpture, creative writing and photography Sworn’s recent work looks at the past to illuminate folds of history and time that inform our understanding of the present.   She draws on the idea that the imagination is part of the matrix through which we understand the past.

Unsettling Provenance was the result of a three month residency  at Timespan. During her time here, Corin Sworn produced a new video work, a collection of sculptures, drawings and a series of photographs.

Corin’s research during her stay in Sutherland focused on historical objects; both those left in the natural environment and those found and displayed in museums. Through walks and discussions with people from the local community she examined the preserved remains of an extinct forest, ancient and ruined architectures as well as other miscellaneous found artefacts. Corin also investigated the context displaced Highlanders would have found on their arrival in Canada 200 years ago and their relationships with the indigenous population.

Much of this research led back to interests within her own practice that focus on layers of meaning and the folding of various spaces and times into one another.

Small Finds was a collection of photographs referencing a common archaeological find in the area – the  bowl. Individuals from the community donated bowls for the photographs following a breakfast hosted by Corin. At the breakfast, people were invited to enjoy a Canadian breakfast of Red River Cereal and pancakes with maple cereal in place of Scottish Porridge Oats while discussing different cultures, times and how we interpret these today. The bowls were photographed using a style reminiscent of museological artefact documentation.  This points to a form of aesthetics that  freezes objects as artefacts and displaces them from the experiential. Through the donation of the bowls and their re photographing the work addresses shared versus private ownership of objects and images. Via the breakfast, the donation of bowls and the photography this work addresses various forms of social exchange and shifting ideas of what may be constituted as property.

Tracing Creases was a collection of sculptural screens alongside a new video work. The works addressed the layering of cultural material across the landscape over time.  The sculptural screens divided the gallery space and partially eclipse vision. The fabric panels are made by dip dying – a method of pattern making that uses the arbitrary patterns that dye leaves in fabric through time. The video uses a motif of water to examine circulation and it’s relation to power and displacement. Focusing on the remnants of a 4000 year old forest found in peat bogs and submerged in Loch Badinloch near Kinbrace in Sutherland, this formal relationship to landscape may suggest metaphor but ultimately portrays it as mute.

This project is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and by the European Community Highland Leader 2007-2013 Programme.