“We’ve created a world of idealized images on top of the real world, and we’re living in it.”

– Sara Cwynar

Curated by: Marie-Ève Beaupré

Red Film (2018) is the third part of a film trilogy, along with Soft Film (2016) and Rose Gold (2017), that questions how desire is manifested through objects. Although the work focuses on the contemporary economy of infinite choice and the production lines of beauty and value, it delves more deeply into the subject of colour. It takes a lucid, critical look at how colour operates politically, socially, and historically, especially with regard to the definition of beauty. Ubiquitous references to colour create connections among consumer objects, artworks, and a broader concept of capitalism. The narrative is structured by a male voice and the artist’s own, as they quote from writings by historical figures and contemporary critical thinkers. Their observations on colour are linked and superimposed, as a constellation of images illustrating how colour is used to reify constructions of gender, race, and class flash across the screen. Using a philosophical tone, Red Film critiques the constant and persuasive pressure exerted by capitalism to conform and consume, and it questions how the names of some of modern art history’s most famous artists are used to sell merchandise.

In Red Film, Sara Cwynar’s compilation of signifiers, images, and quotations consolidates our complex relationship with desire in an opulent world of options and choices, of things to buy and to look at. With the inclusion of reproductions of artworks and references to male figures from modern art, such as Cézanne, it becomes obvious that the history of Western art has contributed to creating many market values by using artists and artworks for marketing purposes.

Sara Cwynar (born in 1985 in Vancouver) currently lives and works in Brooklyn. After studying English literature at the University of British Columbia, she received a BFA in Design from York University (2010) before working as a freelance graphic designer for The New York Times. She also holds an MFA from Yale University (2016). Since her first solo show at Cooper Cole in Toronto, in 2012, Cwynar has had works in almost one hundred exhibitions. Among the most recent are Apple Red/Grass Green/Sky Blue, ICA, Los Angeles (2022); Glass Life, Foxy Production, New York; Source, Remai Modern, Saskatoon; Off the Record, Guggenheim Museum, New York (2021); Objects of Desire: Photography and the Language of Advertising, LACMA, Los Angeles (2020); Don’t! Photography and the Art of Mistakes, SFMOMA, San Francisco; Gilded Age, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield (2019); Image Model Muse, Minneapolis Institute of Art (2018); and Soft Film, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2017). Her work is included in the permanent collections of MoMA, New York; Guggenheim, New York; SFMOMA, San Francisco; MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Fondazione Prada, Milan; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and the MACM, Montréal. She is represented by Foxy Production, New York; Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto; and The Approach, London.

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These resources, available in French and in English, are an attempt to make the activities of the MAC more accessible. They are available both on the website and in the gallery.

For consultation only.