Caledonia Curry, aka Swoon, was born in 1977 in New London, Connecticut. She is a contemporary artist and filmmaker who was one of the first female street artists to gain international recognition in the predominantly male-dominated scene. At the age of 19, she moved to New York to study painting at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts there in 2002.
Already during her studies, she began to place her art in public spaces. She feared that otherwise her paintings would one day hang exclusively in museums, galleries or living rooms, so that not all people would have access to them. That’s why she puts her works on empty houses, bridges, fire escapes and water towers.
How works SWOON?
At the beginning, she worked anonymously in public spaces. She painted under the artist name Swoon only later, through the suggestion of her boyfriend at the time. After a short time, Swoon gained recognition and fame, although the public usually assumed a male artist under the pseudonym. Swoon breaks classical genre boundaries. She works mainly with posterised prints and life-size silhouettes, but is also known for her large installations.
Her unique work is inspired by classical art history, which she studied intensively during her academic studies, as well as fairy tales, myths and folk tales. Swoon’s main subject is almost always the portrait. Over two decades she has explored the depth of human complexity. She believes that people store their experiences in their bodies over the years. In her portraits, she wants to make precisely these experiences visible. The aim is to encourage the
The aim is to encourage the viewer to recognise these experiences in the picture and to perceive his/her own experiences. This creates a very personal connection between the work, the viewer and the model. In this way, her art helps to build a far-reaching sense of connection and thus change the world at least a little. Her greatest concern, however, is to show through her art that the world is bigger and less predictable than most people imagine it to be.
SWOON in the “Icons of Urban Art” exhibition in Munich
At MUCA, the impressive silhouette “Ice Queen” is on display alongside other works by the artist. It combines various techniques, such as screen printing.
You can book your admission ticket for our exhibition here.
Art for overcoming crises
Swoon’s exhibitions in galleries and museums are strongly influenced by her community projects in public spaces. In 2015, she founded the Heliotrope Foundation, which supports numerous projects that use art to overcome crises. For example, the Foundation initiated the Konbit Shelter building project after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Her recent works in particular deal with the relationship between trauma and addiction. Swoon herself grew up in a family with drug and alcohol addiction. In 2015, she developed the project “The Road Home” in North Philadelphia together with local partners. This included, for example, daily art therapy workshops in this neighbourhood, which is heavily affected by drugs.
What are SWOON’s “Swimming Cities”?
One of her most famous projects is a series of floating, inhabited sculptures from 2006, including the work “Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea”. This exhibition took the form of seven handmade ship sculptures that made a three-week journey along the Hudson River in 2008. The second part of the exhibition consisted of an installation at Deitch Studios in Long Island City. Swoon crashed the Venice Biennale in 2009 with the last work in this series, “Swimming Cities of Serenissima”.
Swoon’s artworks are now in the most renowned museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum, the Mima Museum in Brussels and the Tate in London.
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