Swiss Institute presents SWEAT SHAME ETC., a solo exhibition by Athens-based artist Cally Spooner (b. 1983, United Kingdom).
Across objects, writing, sound and choreography, Spooner addresses the manners in which specific technological and financial conditions shape and organize life. Featuring WhatsApp messages, the voice of a business, the sound of a head cold, eroding support structures, a child development theorist, a poisoning and an oversized graph, SWEAT SHAME ETC. depicts an absurd contemporary ecosystem in which entities run the risk of managing themselves and one another to death.
SWEAT SHAME ETC. places emphasis on a supporting architecture by foregrounding the role of the exhibition plinth. The plinths here are constructed from recently poured olive oil soap that will undergo a curing process throughout the duration of the exhibition. Each plinth has the same approximate weight as the artist’s body and forms an organic, partially unstable and imperfect display device that is vulnerable to shrinkage, decay and age spots. Hosted on top of the plinths are a number of Spooner’s sculptures (2017–18), including offset prints, 3D prints and cast metal objects. In close proximity is a stainless-steel drinking fountain with its faucet jammed, so that it is perpetually running (Murderous Public Drinking Fountain, 2018). Disconnected from any public water source, the fountain is fed from its own supply of chlorinated water, continuously cycling a hygienic yet poisonous agent through itself.
The backdrop to this scene is a large-scale wall drawing (Self Tracking, 2018), depicting five years of extracted data. An average line is marked in a continuous streak of spray tan, staining the perimeter of SI’s ground floor with a corporeal tidemark. Plotted around it are the fluctuations of the artist’s thyroid TSH levels, her artfacts.net ranking, and the value of the British Pound against the Euro.
Installed at the back of the gallery is He Wins Every Time, On Time, and Under Budget (2016). In this stereo audio installation, two women deliver two performances. On the left, Ivanka Trump narrates her capacity to “architect” work, life, children and goals, while on the right, Maggie Segale, a dancer from New York City, trains for a performance whilst suffering from a head cold. Segale’s sniffling and strained breathing is visceral in comparison to the smoothly managed register of Trump’s voice. The title of the work is taken from a speech at a Republican rally in summer 2016, in which Ivanka Trump introduced her father to the stage.
On the second floor is a series of drawings on paper (2018), from which SWEAT SHAME ETC. takes its name. Hastily sketched figures take care of their bodies while shedding clothes, socks, limbs and torsos. Though their heads are scratched out, they remain unexpectedly unperturbed and determined.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)