There’s a good chance you’ve encountered Swoon’s work before: her intricately cut, life-sized portraits have covered abandoned buildings and warehouses in cities around the world. Often found in beautiful states of decay, her wheat-pasted installations are populated by realistically rendered people going about everyday activities in a cityscape of her own invention.
In both her art and her own life, Swoon is deeply engaged with social and humanitarian projects. During the 2009 Venice Biennale, she and a crew of 30 other artists and friends sailed SWOON boats made of reclaimed materials through the canals of Venice—creating new purpose out of what was cast aside. Her latest endeavor, the Konbit Shelter Project, is a sustainable building project assisting Haitians who lost their homes in the devastating 2010 earthquake. Working alone or in collaboration, Swoon’s work is often about forming a community in order to practice what she refers to as a “real world” engagement.
For the ICA’s fifth installation of the Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall, Swoon’s installation will extend from the elevator atrium to the lobby, soaring 40 feet up to the ceiling—the largest installation to occupy the Fineberg Art Wall. The work, titled Anthropocene Extinction, is composed of streams of intricately cut paper which connect key sculptural elements within the installation, including a 400-pound, suspended bamboo sculpture. The exhibition is accompanied by an ICA-produced video featuring installation footage and an interview with the artist.