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,...
'You're having this filmic way of reading images as they move, and you move, through space.' In this film, the artist discusses the process of creating the new site-specific works in her exhibition at Victoria Miro: Images in Debris, an installation of images, light, sound, film, and objects, that seeks to transform the visitor's perception and experience of the first-floor gallery; and Afterimage, an environment of wall-based works in the ground-floor gallery that replicates aspects of the artist's studio and includes elements made in situ as well as images collected, gathered and discarded in the process of making the work.
A Zapote Productions' film; all works ©/courtesy Sarah Sze
Sarah Sze is an American artist known for her intricate installations and taxonomic arrangements, both consisting of everyday objects. A fluid amalgamation of two-dimensional image, sculpture, video, installation and science, Sze's work not only challenges the convention of sculpture as a static object, but also offers a fantastical investigation into the measurement of time and space.
Sze refers to her artworks as experiments, at the centre of which experiments exist investigations into a certain material's context or qualities. In the case of Cotissi—an installation created for Glasstress in 2017 (an official collateral event of that year's Venice Biennale)—the inquiry is into the properties of broken glass. Set in concrete, the glass shards originally set aside for recycling are both scintillating to look at and dangerous, given their jagged edges. In an earlier installation titled Stone Series (2013-5) (part of Sze's solo exhibition organised by Victoria Miro in 2015), the artist arranged a group of rocks on the floor. At first glance, the rocks appear massive and immovable; however, closer inspection reveals them to be lightweight imitations created by covering wire armature with printed boulder-pattern. On the wall, a row of canvases contains the printed textures of the rocks on display, flattening the weight and volume associated with a rock into two dimensions.
Another concern that Sze repeatedly returns to is time, as explored in Still Life with Desk and Calendar Series (both 2013-5). Still Life with Desk is a mixed-media sculpture that seems to have been frozen in a moment of disintegration; an intricate wire structure acts as a desk over which the artist has placed office-related objects including photographs, stationery, takeaway coffee cups, bottled water and potted plants. Some objects have spilled onto the floor, while more appear ready to follow. The spillage on the ground also includes silkscreen prints of newspaper front pages that, while all dated January 1, 2014, were each issued in a different location in a different time zone. In a further attempt to mark various moments in time, Sze replaces the photographs in the prints with pictures of the night sky.
Similarly centred on the passage of time, Calendar Series saw Sze collect 90 front pages of The New York Times. The artists again swapped out the newspaper's photographs, this time for images of nature such as the ocean or a snowscape. Discussing the work in an interview with Ocula Magazine in 2015, Sze recalled the questions that arose while working with time: 'How do you measure either space or time through materials or objects? What is our behaviour in doing that? ... How do we mark time not only physically, but emotionally or psychologically?'
Calendar Series—originally conceived for an exhibition at Philadelphia's Fabric Workshop and Museum in 2014—later developed an unexpected political dimension, beginning with its acceptance for the 1st Asian Biennial and the 5th Guangzhou Triennial (both 2015) in China. When Chinese authorities requested Sze remove parts of the newspaper that referenced China, the artist responded by painting over them with black acrylic. In 2016, Sze presented another revision of Calendar Series for Protest—a group exhibition at Victoria Miro in London that showcased artists whose works challenge the status quo—in which she obliterated all written content, save for references to China.
In 2016, Sze expanded her interest in ways of measuring time and space with Timekeeper, a tabletop installation that resembles a scientist's den or a writer's desk with its assemblage of objects including mirrors, lamps, stools, stones, alarm clocks with neon numerals and a metronome, among others. For this installation, the artist projected a diverse range of videos onto a myriad of surfaces, illustrating the many forms of time; the footage includes cheetahs running in slow motion, birds in flight and at rest, and water flowing. Displayed inside a darkened room, the installation was a rich landscape of fragmented and kaleidoscopic imagery.
Reminiscent of Timekeeper is Measuring Stick (2015), another tabletop installation that measures time and space through the moving image. Inspired by the film Powers of Ten (1977) by Charles and Ray Eames and its use of the factor of ten to quantify the universe, Measuring Stick combines mathematics and science with art; one of the installation's projections is a live-feed of data from NASA that charts the distance between Voyager 1 and Earth.
Although she is widely recognised for her sculptures, Sze also considers drawing a significant part of her practice for its sense of immediacy and potential to develop into other mediums. Her familiarity with the two-dimensional form stems from her background in painting, graduating with a BA from Yale University in 1991 and an MFA from New York's School of Visual Arts in 1997.
Exhibiting internationally since the late 1990s, Sze has held solo and group exhibitions at Victoria Miro, London (2018, 2016, 2015, 2012, 2009, 2007); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2017); Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (2015, 2014, 2010); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2003); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2002); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2002); and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (1999) among others. She has participated in the Venice Biennale and its collateral events four times, and in 2013 she represented the United States with Triple Point—an exhibition of interrelated and immersive installations that examined the notion of the compass and our desire to find equilibrium. Her participation in other international group exhibitions includes La Biennale de Lyon (2009), Liverpool Biennial (2008), Whitney Biennial (2000) and Carnegie International (1999). Sze lives and works in New York.
Victoria Miro is delighted to present two new site-specific works by US artist Sarah Sze: Images in Debris, an installation of images, light, sound, film, and objects, that seeks to transform a visitors' perception and experience of the first-floor gallery; and Afterimage, an environment of wall-based works in the ground floor gallery that replicates aspects of the artist's studio and includes elements made in situ as well as images collected, gathered and discarded in the process of making the work. In both works Sze continues her decades-long exploration of the ways in which the proliferation of images - printed in magazines and newspapers, gleaned from the Web and television, intercepted from outer space, and ultimately imprinted on our conscious and unconscious selves - fundamentally changes our relationship to physical objects, memories and time.
Constellatory, monumental, intimate and immersive, Images in Debris, 2018, is the latest iteration of a major series of sculptures that study the image in motion. Begun in 2015, this series includes Timekeeper, first shown at Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts, in 2016 and subsequently at Copenhagen Contemporary in 2017, and Centrifuge, Sze's site-specific installation for the Middle Hall of Haus der Kunst, Munich (on view until 12 August 2018). In these expansive works, Sze explores our sense of time, place and distance, and the construction of memory, through the never-ending stream of images - personal, searched, researched and found - that we negotiate daily. While Sze has worked with moving image since the late-1990s, these installations represent an evolution in her practice, where light, movement, images and architecture coalesce into a single, precarious equilibrium.
Simultaneously a sculptural installation and a functional projection tool, Images in Debris lends equal weight to images and objects, breaking out of the flat screen into the space of architecture, and experimenting with the edges between the two. At its centre is an L-shaped desk, inspired by the artist's own studio desk, which, acting like a projector at the centre of a planetarium, casts images on to torn sheets of paper attached to an intricate structure built on desktop, and across the gallery walls. Moving and scanning the architecture at different speeds, the work unfolds like a series of experiments that seem to alter our sense of gravity, scale and time. Sze's work has often referred to instruments of measure and mapping as well as the worlds they strive to evaluate. Part constellation, part debris field - a place of both networked and fractured relationships - Images in Debris is analytic of the ways in which we experience the image saturated contemporary world. Poised at the intersection of the material and the virtual, it offers multiple screens or windows on to moments by turns public and private.
The imagery itself - much of it shot on the artist's iPhone - often points to its own materiality or changes in material state. A forest burns. Water spills or splashes - a reference to Harold Edgerton's famous 1936 photograph Milk-Drop Coronet and to the earlier experiments of Muybridge and Marey. Edits, meanwhile, draw attention to processes of decay or transformation in a virtual sense - succumbing to pixilation, becoming ghostly like digital 'snow'. In tandem, altered states of consciousness are suggested by imagery such as the motif of a child asleep. Within the slow loop of the imagery - so long that repeats take days rather than hours - beginnings and endings are willfully suspended. Here, Sze applies to sculpture the filmic idea of the edit, where meaning occurs in the splice, and the viewer, moving through the space, creates their own narrative arc.
In the ground floor gallery Sze debuts the first iteration of her ongoing project, Afterimage, which explores how images function as tools to make sense of the world. Comprised of multiple layers of paint, ink, paper, pencil, prints, objects, and wood, this new body of work, like Images in Debris, both re-frames and refracts the collision of images we are confronted with daily. The title, referring to the effect where an image continues to appear in our vision after exposure to the original image has ceased, also alludes to the filmic idea of the persistence of vision, where the afterimage fills in the gaps between film frames, setting still images into motion in our perception and memory.
Sze will complete much of this work on site, using the gallery walls as an active location to map, dissect, and construct images, laying bare the generative narrative of the studio as a live event. The process of how images are generated, collected, appropriated and developed to create other images is evident in the range of materials and paraphernalia on the walls. The wall becomes a place of experimentation where ideas in their conception are mapped out to create images. Traces of multiple image-making mediums are layered in the work, such as the ghost images of etching, the skidding surface of silkscreen printing, the layering cuts of collage, the dripping and brushing of paint, the exposure by light of photographs, the digital disturbance of computer processing, and the flickering movement of film. Circling the circumference of the gallery, the constellations of images shift in scale, fade, disappear, re-emerge, creating a storyboard of how an image is burned into memory and persists over time.
Sarah Sze represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2013 and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003. The artist has exhibited in museums worldwide, and her works are held in the permanent collections of prominent institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Fondation Cartier, Paris; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles. Sze's work has been featured in The Whitney Biennial (2000), the Carnegie International (1999) and several international biennials, including Berlin (1998), Guangzhou (2015), Liverpool (2008), Lyon (2009), São Paulo (2002), and Venice (1999, 2013, and 2015). Sze has also created public works for the High Line in New York, and subsequently the city's Second Avenue Subway Station; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Centrifuge, a major commission by Haus der Kunst, Munich, occupies the museum's Middle Hall until 12 August 2018. Sze was born in Boston, Massachusetts and lives and works in New York.
Sarah Sze discusses her installation Seamless as it is installed at Tate Modern, London, 2018.
Jeremy Lewison, adviser to the Estate of Alice Neel, talks with Angela Lampe, curator of Modern Art at Centre Pompidou, on the occasion of the exhibition 'Alice Neel in New Jersey and Vermont' (26 October—15 December 2018).
You are invited into Do Ho Suh's apartment. You put down your bag, remove your coat and step inside. The hallway changes color as you proceed, first pink, then green and then blue. It's narrow, but it feels spacious. There is a red staircase outside, and beyond it people are moving around. You can see them, right through the walls. Cabinet handles...
Shortly before he turned fifty, we had the unique pleasure of spending six months with Danish artist Tal R, while he was in the process of making his grand series of nine enormous railcar-paintings, 'Habakuk'. Watch the intimate and biographical film.A film by: Kasper Bech Dyg and Marc-Christoph WagnerCamera: Klaus ElmerAdditional footage:...
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