Corin Sworn (4 stars)

Compelling installations exploring history and storytelling originally shown at 2013 Venice Biennale

*4Corin Sworn

Courtesy of the artist and Kendall Koppe, Glasgow. Photo by Ruth Clarke

One year on from its appearance in the Scottish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Corin Sworn’s project has come home. Returning – with some edits – to the partner institution that presented it in Venice, the Common Guild, this display is succinct and compelling.

‘The Foxes’, an 18-minute video, is the central focus of the exhibition. Based upon a series of slides taken by Sworn’s father, static images are intercut with the artist’s own motion footage. The narration incorporates Sworn’s own memories of first seeing the slides, her father’s recollection of their context, and interviews with locals quizzed in the present day about the photographs. Visual and aural works unfold in tandem, with subtle digital manipulations appearing alongside the undulating story, providing clues to the rest of the works on display.

Upstairs, RGB prints subtly merge past and present day shots of streets or landscapes, revealing the technical construction of images implied in the video work and the slides. These high-gloss prints are inspired by the same spirit of historical recording and reassessment present in ‘The Foxes’, analysed in static form.

‘How Desires Change’, comprises ceramic tiles spread across the floor, transcribing the elements of editing and reconfiguration into a physical intervention. The tiles mirror the antique and sepia tones that appear in many slides, and while certain patterns reappear, the irregular juxtapositions once more echo sentiments present in ‘The Foxes’.

With an absorbing film at its heart, this exhibition pertinently touches on memories, history and documentation, inviting us to consider the ways we may remember our own recordings and derive meaning from them in years to come.

The Common Guild, Glasgow, until Sat 13 Sep.

Corin Sworn

The third of three Common Guild artists' exhibitions originally shown at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Sworn's installations explore notions of storytelling and history.


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