I just visited New York street artist Swoon‘s new exhibition at Black Rat Projects in Shoreditch, East London. It was quite hard to find, the entrance being tucked away up an unmarked alley next to Cargo nightclub. You have to ring a number to get let in, so don’t forget your phone!
Inside is a huge railway arch full of towering figures, doors that lead nowhere and very beautiful paper cut-out patterns pasted on the walls. You feel like you’ve walked into an alternate reality of mashed-up architecture and kids playing hide-and-seek behind huge, jolly fat demi-goods.
I got into Swoon’s work a couple of years ago. I really like the way she uses linocut, printing it, resizing, cutting and pasting in public spaces. She leaves her linocut figures to decay, go unnoticed or be discovered accidentally by passers by. It’s not precious work, but I do find it moving and a little bit profound.
More recently Swoon has got involved in big, collaborative projects like Swimming Cities, where she worked with teams to build rafts that they then floated up the Hudson and Mississippi rivers. She also went to Haiti after the earthquake to see how she could help and ended up building bespoke shelters for people who lost their houses. Here’s a very inspirational talk that Swoon gave from the TED talks series:
Go see the show if you can, the Black Rat website doesn’t say how long it’s on for so hurry!