Sara Cwynar “Glass Life”

Foxy Production

poster for Sara Cwynar “Glass Life”
[Image: Sara Cwynar "Glass Life" (2021) stills from six channel 2K video with sound, 19 min. 02 sec., dimensions variable.]
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Sara Cwynar’s latest solo exhibition at Foxy Production is a new six channel film, Glass Life. The work is an immersive, multi-voiced meditation on the relationship between images and the self. On differently sized projection screens, the film travels through advertising, art, fashion, design, philosophy, and politics, while three digitized swimmers on monitors act as witnesses and audience members. Contemplating the limits of nostalgia and memory, Glass Life looks back, to the present, and forward, often all at once, as it poetically figures the ways images can both threaten and give pleasure.

The work’s title derives from philosopher and psychologist Shoshana Zuboff’s recent book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Zuboff characterizes our current digital era as one where we live our lives behind glass, where everything we do is surveilled and privacy is almost impossible, and where the only resistance is “the art and science of hiding.”

Glass Life is a dynamic configuration of images and video accumulated over the years on the artist’s hard drives. From her studio, the artist uses her computer and various studio set ups to make sense of her visual archive—and the world outside. Luscious pictures of food, political figures, screen idols, sportswomen, Instagram models, grand artworks, cartoon characters, emojis, and self-portraits, among many other images, vie for our attention. This montage is overlaid by a broad range of references, including from Euripides, Plato, and Shakespeare; through Albert Camus, John Maynard Keynes, and Virginia Woolf; to Frantz Fanon, Luce Irigaray, Kobena Mercer, and the artist herself.

Perspective, scale, and time feel askew, as the work’s signs and symbols wash over us. Flatness and depth are intertwined as still and moving images converge: photographs swipe by as a conveyer belt of industrial goods moves on with an almost independent spirit. As words and images dazzle, the work’s abundance produces an anxious feeling of visual over-stimulation, tempered by the artist’s drive to synthesize the myriad elements she presents.

Picturing a kind of simulation of subjectivity, Cwynar figures contemporary relations revolving ever more reductively around consumers and producers; yet, at the same time, signifying beauty and freedom, she captures a swimmer floating effortlessly above it all. The artist suggests that, throughout history, cycles of seductive images have been used to ensnare us in an ongoing matrix of desire and consumption; yet, she also intimates that a key to extricating ourselves from these binds is a thirst for inquiry and knowledge.

Sara Cwynar’s films and photography have been described as building on the legacy of the 1980s Pictures Generation. The artist is interested in how design and popular images work on our psyches, in how visual strategies infiltrate our consciousness. She considers how familiar, often sentimental images smooth over unpleasant realities, to cover up “the systems of control embedded within our social, economic, and political lives.”



from September 01, 2021 to October 23, 2021

Opening Reception on 2021-09-01 from 15:00 to 20:00


Sara Cwynar

Website (venue's website)



Venue Hours

From 11:00 To 18:00
Closed on Mondays, Sundays


Address: 2 E Broadway, 200, New York, NY 10038
Phone: 212-239-2758 Fax: 212-239-2759

Corner of Catherine St. Subway: F to East Broadway.

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