ACTIVATE: Market Street Featured Artist Louisa Armbrust

Blue Swimmer, an installation by artist Louisa Armbrust, fills the windows of four shopfronts on Market Street with life-sized cyanotype photographs of a ghostly figure swimming in deep blue space.

Each photograph, made using cotton fabric coated with a UV sensitive cyanotype solution, is based on an image from a 1950s Hungarian competitive swimming manual. The manual features black and white, stop-motion, underwater photographs of olympic athletes demonstrating perfect versions of the swimming strokes like the crawl, backstroke, and butterfly. The installation reanimates these beautiful but dated images, by reenacting the poses captured in the original images and transposing them into the urban Newark landscape.

“This project is about attempting to recreate poses from an instruction manual, but nothing in nature or human effort creates an exact replica. That’s what machines do, but not us. There is something inherently beautiful and interesting in the gap between the rule and the action, and that is what I try to show in my work. I hope these underwater images will create a visual respite from the heat and from the habitual everyday streetscape and encourage passersby to reflect on the creativity and wonder that we all embody Because we are imperfect.”

Louisa Armbrust lives and works in Brooklyn. Awards include Artist-in-residence at Millay Colony for the Arts, LMCC Swing Space, New Works Project Grant from Harvestworks Digital Media Art Center, New York, Artist-in-Residence at Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been shown at museums and galleries including the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI, the Hofstra Museum, Hempstead, NY, the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, and Eye Level Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She received an MA in Visual Arts from Goldsmiths College, University of London. For more information visit


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