Joe Sweeney is a conceptual artist dealing with themes of human isolation and communication in the context of the contemporary age.
With his work rooted in a personal and wider observed struggle to communicate, Sweeney's visual language often subverts Britain’s passion for nostalgia and a sardonic tone to explore notions of time, memory and permanence through sculpture, print, video and installation. Within this, Sweeney is fascinated in seeking the universal in both the particular and the peculiar, and more specifically the banal, he reimagines the detritus of modern day life as relics and ruin. His work offers an alternative perspective on our fast changing times and seeks to archive a certain truth behind the theatrical veil of human existence. Through quick observation of British idiosyncrasies, the artist encourages a pause for thought on the daily interactions that we don’t always pay attention to.
In 2019, Sweeney launched ‘+44 leave a Message for Europe’ - a public, part digital and part physical project which centred around live web cam stream of a sculpture of a telephone box installed on Dungeness beach, Kent. The public were invited to call the sculpture online, no matter what their opinion, and leave their voice messages for Europe during the 28 day lead up to Britain's original departure date from the EU, 29th March 2019. The project was extended into April and the full archive of voice messages is available to listen to at www.leaveamessage4europe.com. Collating both the footage and the voice archive, Sweeney developed the project into a time-based media work titled 28 Days in March….