The Rag Papers
Chisenhale Gallery presents a newly commissioned work by the Canadian, Glasgow based artist Corin Sworn. This will be Sworn’s largest and most ambitious exhibition to date and comprises a film presented as part of an installation with synchronised lighting and sound.
The Rag Papers (2013) explores the socially constructed nature of attention and the implications of reuse and appropriation as they reconfigure the meaning of things. The film’s worried narrative shifts between the perspectives of three characters who interact with a series of objects at distinct moments in time. The film uses point of view shots and cutaway sequences to suggest the roaming of each character’s attention and in doing so introduces itinerant spaces such as hotel rooms, sorting depots and markets.
Sworn uses the language of filmmaking to question human agency, layering multiple subjective viewpoints and presenting the distracted nature of attention and thought patterns as she shifts back and forth between the modes of remembering, looking, processing and reading. Objects play a central role in the film, almost as characters in their own right, but the suggestion that they indicate or hold specific meaning is deflected as designations shift.
In recent work, such as the performance lecture Roaming Charges (2011), and in HDHB (2011), made in collaboration with Charlotte Prodger, Sworn has explored ideas related to the global circulation of objects and images. She expands upon these ideas in The Rag Papers with the inclusion of footage shot in second hand goods warehouses –vast repositories where post-consumer textiles and household goods are sorted for reuse and shipped to locations around the world. Here the past trails into the present and objects defy attempts at clean-cut historicisation.
Sworn is interested in the means by which artefacts are borrowed, adapted and reconfigured to tell different stories. Her work explores the social ordering of attention and how the erratic nature of perception might undermine control. Sworn’s films and installations often incorporate found images, over which she voices her own narratives, that are themselves composed from fragments of other texts.
In The Rag Papers Sworn continues this use of appropriation but renegotiates its terms. In producing the film she worked with the actors to devise a set of actions in an apartment, and then hired two documentary filmmakers to shoot the rehearsed sequences as if they were making a documentary film. Sworn edited the resulting footage to create a narrative which vaguely apes that of a genre film. She has described the work as ‘a seedy noir film that wishes it was an intellectual thriller’.
Corin Sworn (born 1977, London) lives and works in Glasgow. Recent exhibitions include; Endless Renovation, Art Now, Tate Britain (2011); Tramway, Glasgow; Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art; Witte de With, Rotterdam (all 2010); EASTinternational, Norwich; Kunsthalle Basel (2009); Participant Inc. New York (2008). Sworn was nominated for The Jarman Award 2011 and The Jerwood / Film and Video Umbrella Award 2012, and has been selected to represent Scotland at the Venice Biennale, 2013.
The Rag Papers is co-commissioned by Neuer Aachener Kunstverein (NAK) where the exhibition will be presented in April 2013. The soundtrack of The Rag Papers is composed by Eric La Casa. Documentary footage is shot by Martin Clark and Cara Connelly.
Corin Sworn's exhibition is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation, The Elephant Trust and the Corin Sworn Supporters Circle.
Chisenhale Exhibitions Partner 2013: Fiorucci Art Trust