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Joe Sweeney

Art calls for introspection – a moment to reconnect with oneself. As Vivienne once expressed, ‘It’s got to be your vision – and how you can represent the world you see’. In an age of over-information, where we are in constant touch with one another, it’s in the stillness that we rediscover ourselves (once we surrender to all we’ve escaped). This is a notion conceptual artist, Joe Sweeney alludes to. In his latest exhibition, entitled ‘Times Are Hard for Dreamers,’ the artist reflects on the struggle for creative focus and personal connection – in the context of a permanently distracted world. ‘We are so connected with each other that we are disconnected from ourselves and what we really want to say,’ he notes. ‘I find truth is found in the stillness of the present moment – and I hope this work instils feelings of personal power and resilience, in a time that can often feel so powerless and uncertain.’

Holding a large-scale, site-specific installation, presented by the Cob Gallery, Sweeney’s signature approach exposes the neurosis of nostalgia, which lies at the heart of British culture. One where he offers an alternative perspective on our rapidly changing times. In archiving a certain truth behind the theatrical veil of human existence, the exhibition merges print, sculpture, audio and video works, into a mock dreamscape. These artworks serve to document the artist’s ‘journey in search of silence’ across the past three years. ‘‘It depicts a psychological journey; the silence of personal truth,’ Sweeney expresses. ‘Elements of what I identify with, I guess. Or what I see to be parts of my identity that I needed to question deeper.’ Each piece conforms to a visual language that subverts Britain’s passion for nostalgia – exploring notions of time, memory and permanence. In his own words, ‘Times are harder than ever for dreamers – because we need silence, isolation and boredom to create, and these are the things that are seemingly hardest to achieve in a society played out on social media’.


Presented by Cob Gallery and supported by Cheerio Publishing.


Opening event: 30th March 2023


Exhibition continues: 31 March – 02 April 2023


Tuscany Wharf 4B
Orsman Road
N1 5QJ