Corin Sworn

Corin Sworn

Chisenhale Gallery

Corin Sworn, The Rag Papers (production still), 2013.

February 6, 2013

Corin Sworn
The Rag Papers
8 February–24 March 2013

Chisenhale Gallery
64 Chisenhale Road
London  E3 5QZ

Chisenhale Gallery presents a newly commissioned work by Glasgow-based Canadian 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 nature of attention, reuse and appropriation. The film’s worried narrative shifts between the perspectives of three characters who interact with a series of objects set within carefully designed domestic interiors. The film uses point of view shots and cutaway sequences to suggest the roaming nature of each character’s attention and, in turn, reveals transient spaces such as hotel rooms, sorting depots and markets.

Layering multiple subjective viewpoints, Sworn’s characters shift back and forth between modes of remembering, looking, processing and reading. Objects play a central role in the film, almost as characters in their own right; the mise en scène becoming as potent as the action of the protagonists or any suggested narrative.

In recent work, such as the performance lecture Roaming Charges (2011), and HDHB (2011), made in collaboration with Charlotte Prodger, Sworn has explored the global circulation of objects and images. She expands upon these ideas in The Rag Papers with the inclusion of footage shot in secondhand 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 as objects are recycled across place and time.

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, 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 (b. 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 (all 2009); and 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

Corin Sworn has produced a special limited edition print to accompany her exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery. For more information please visit our online shop.

Talks and Events

Tuesday 12 February, 7pm
Anthropologist Lucy Norris presents her research into global secondhand clothing economies, in discussion with Corin Sworn. 
Tickets available at the front desk or from

Tuesday 5 March, 9–10:30am 
A coffee morning and special viewing of Corin Sworn’s exhibition. Cakes are generously provided by the East End Women’s Institute

Thursday 7 March, 7pm
Corin Sworn in conversation with writer and curator Gil Leung.
Tickets are available at the front desk or from

Chisenhale Gallery
Registered Charity number 1026175


Corin Sworn at Chisenhale Gallery
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