I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
Monika Sosnowska's sculptural language emerges from a process of experimentation with, and the appropriation of, construction materials such as steel beams, concrete, reinforcing rods and pipes. These elements-the solid and rigid foundations of buildings-are manipulated and warped, taking on an independence in which their former functionality is implied yet defunct. The formal language of her works echoes different contradictory Modernisms: that of the Polish constructivism of the 1930s; the minimal and conceptual tendencies of the international art of the 1960s and 1970s; and modernist architecture as experienced in Eastern Europe.
Sosnowska was born in 1972 in Ryki, Poland and witnessed the change of Poland's political system from Communism to Democracy, and the the heavy impact this had upon society and her environment. In 2003, she achieved international renown with her work The Corridor, an intervention that formed part of the Arsenale exhibition of the 50th Venice Biennale. Four years later, Sosnowska represented Poland at the 52nd Venice Biennale with the monumental installation 1:1. The almost organic construction of steel beams she created was intended to exhibit the Polish Pavilion itself. Using parts of the building's infrastructure, Sosnowska occupied the entire space with a second architectural structure on the inside. 1:1 not only reflects the architecture of many of the Venetian pavilions, but at the same time, brings to the fore the global discourse on functionality, in a marked departure from modernism's preoccupation with style.
In her recent works, Sosnowska has incorporated elements of modernist architecture and recognisable details including staircases, handrails, gates and window structures to create unexpected, even uncanny, encounters. She treats buildings as a site of memory, and is adept at conveying both political and psychological significance through her work. She quotes architectural irregularities, collaging different elements together to form a whole that appears at once both confused, yet intentionally and attractively designed. Space is encountered as a psychosomatic quality, as political as its experience is personal, forever veering in the mind of the viewer between the uncanny and the Sublime.
A conversation between Tom Emerson, co-founder (with Stephanie Macdonald) of 6a architects and Professor of Architecture and Construction at ETH Zürich, and Mark Rappolt, editor-in-chief of Art Review, on the occasion of the exhibition Monika Sosnowska. Structural Exercises at Hauser & Wirth London, 23 January 2018.
Heather Pesanti, Senior Curator at The Contemporary Austin, discusses the work of Monika Sosnowska on the occasion of the exhibition Monika Sosnowska at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles.
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