Swiss Institute

Cally Spooner

Sweat Shame etc.

13 Dec 2018 - 10 Mar 2019

SWEAT SHAME ETC., installation view
Sweat Shame etc.
13 December 2018 – 10 March 2019

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 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.

SI Reading Room

In conjunction with SWEAT SHAME ETC., Swiss Institute has invited OFFSHORE, an itinerant performance company, laboratory and pedagogical structure initiated by Cally Spooner in 2017, to inhabit SI’s Reading Room. OFFSHORE IN NEW YORK: PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY will begin with a text and bibliography, and unfold into a three-week program at SI which asks the question: how might we tell the difference between what is alive and what is dead in the machinery that is advanced techno-capitalism and neoliberalism? Full details will be announced in January 2019.

About Cally Spooner

Cally Spooner (b. 1983, United Kingdom) is an artist based in Athens. Recent solo shows include Everything Might Spill at Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2018); DRAG DRAG SOLO at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva (2018); Soundtrack for a Troubled Time and Notes on Humiliation at Whitechapel Gallery, London (2017); And you were wonderful, on stage at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2016); On False Tears and Outsourcing at The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2016) and Vleeshal, Netherlands (2015). Spooner’s work was included in recent group exhibitions at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Singapore (2018); V-A-C Foundation, Moscow (2018); FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2018) The Serpentine Galleries, London (2017); Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich (2017); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2016); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2015); and REDCAT Gallery, Los Angeles (2015); among others. She has also curated several exhibitions and events, including Micro-Composition at San Serriffe, Amsterdam (2017); A Social Body Event at The Serpentine Galleries and Central Saint Martins, London (2017); and An Intimate Symposium on Maintenance, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2017).

Publications by Spooner include Scripts, published by Slimvolume Press (2016) and Collapsing in Parts, published by Mousse (2013). A monograph of her work published by Museo MADRE, Naples and Vleeshal, Netherlands is forthcoming in 2019. Spooner will open a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2019.

About Offshore

OFFSHORE is an itinerant performance company, a laboratory and a pedagogical structure, initiated by Cally Spooner in 2017. Through workshops, rehearsals and temporary schools, OFFSHORE develops real-time exercises, drafting new vocabulary and terms for organizing, working and performing. OFFSHORE enables a number of persons, some of whom have met before, and some of whom have not met, to maintain a state of rehearsal, over a number of days, in public. OFFSHORE has gathered sporadically over the past year at: NTU CCA Singapore, Singapore; Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston in collaboration with CREMP (Centre for Research in European Modern Philosophy); Playground Festival (STUK Kunstencentrum & M-Museum, Leuven); Bilbao BAD Festival, La Fundición, Bilbao; Serpentine Gallery, London; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and Centre for National Dance, Paris. OFFSHORE has been developed and continues to be supported by a Stanley Picker Fellowship at Kingston University, UK. OFFSHORE was initiated through a commission from Corpus, an international network for commissioning performance-related work, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. A funded exhibition and event opportunity at REDCAT, Los Angeles first set the stage for testing ideas.

Cally Spooner: SWEAT SHAME ETC. is made possible through the support of the Henry Moore Foundation. Additional support is provided by Zero..., Milan and GB Agency, Paris.