Floating World  

Akinci Gallery  

22 November 2022 - 22 January 2023

[...] The name Floating World, comes from the Japanese term ukiyo, meaning floating, fleeting, or transient world. It’s a term emphasising living
in the moment, detached from the difficulties of life closely associated with ukiyo-e, the Japanese art movement, which depicted leisure scenes of the Edo bourgeoisie. The title of Swinney’s show uses the term Floating World for its poignant ambiguity, even absurdity. Like the printmaking of ukiyo-e, Swinney’s paintings also depict a certain urban middle-class leisure: the figures Swinney traffics with are often engaged in banal activities of ‘tastefulness’: visiting greenhouses, flower gardens, bathing in natural pools, hiking or foraging. But we also feel a keen sadness in these trivialities of the everyday; an attempt to reconnect with nature, to recreate it, conserve it, return to it.

There is also a word play involved in the word ukiyo, one which puns on a double meaning of ‘‘sorrowful world’, and this is inherent here too. These paintings are full of loss, confusion and alienation, but what event has caused these feelings is not shown, it is not certain, or cannot be remembered. It’s uncertain where Floating World is situated, or indeed what it is, what we are shown and to what purpose. Much of what we are shown looks like our contemporary world, and yet it could as easily be the past as it could be the future, a dystopia or a utopia. Architecture of the past can be seen in nearly every painting, but the styles – Victorian, modernist, contemporary – give us no indication of the period of these scenes depicted.[...]

 Text by Noah Swinney

“Nature is immensely political, in how we imagine, interact with, and impact it” 

- Rebecca Solnit, Orwell’s Roses 

Artworks Exhibited 

Installation Images