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Beatriz González at KW Institute for Contemporary Art: In Focus Ocula Report Beatriz González at KW Institute for Contemporary Art: In Focus 14 Dec 2018 : Pia Chakraverti-Wuerthwein for Ocula

Retrospective 1965–2017, Beatriz González's exhibition at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (13 October 2018–6 January 2019), presents a selection of 120 works that bear witness to Colombia's political and social upheavals of the last 50 years. Throughout, the link between González's practice and the sociopolitical context it references...

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Ingrid Schaffner Ocula Conversation Ingrid Schaffner Curator, 57th Carnegie International

Founded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie as part of the Carnegie Institute in 1895, Carnegie Museum sought to 'bring the world' to the city with a grand building housing a natural history museum, a library, and an art museum operating as a fluid space for knowledge exchange. In its 123-year history, the institution has built up a world-class...

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Extra States: Nations in Liquidation at Kunsthal Extra City Ocula Report Extra States: Nations in Liquidation at Kunsthal Extra City 8 Dec 2018 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

The nation-state—a nation (a people) presided over by a governing body with jurisdiction over a defined territory (the state)—is either going through a renaissance or demise, depending on one's perspective. There has been talk about the nation-state's end for years—from a 2013 United States National Intelligence Council report...

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Sarah Sze

b. 1969, USA

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.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Afterimage, Folded Earth with Rainbow Disturbance (Painting in its Archive) by Sarah Sze contemporary artwork Sarah SzeAfterimage, Folded Earth with Rainbow Disturbance (Painting in its Archive), 2018 Oil paint, acrylic paint, archival paper, UV stabilizers, adhesive, tape, ink and acrylic polymers, shellac, water based primer on wood
Victoria Miro
Afterimage, Blue with Fingerprint (Painting in its Archive) by Sarah Sze contemporary artwork Sarah SzeAfterimage, Blue with Fingerprint (Painting in its Archive), 2018 Oil paint, acrylic paint, archival paper, UV stabilizers, adhesive, tape, ink and acrylic polymers, shellac, water based primer on wood
Victoria Miro
Afterimage, Rainbow Disturbance (Painting in its Archive) by Sarah Sze contemporary artwork Sarah SzeAfterimage, Rainbow Disturbance (Painting in its Archive), 2018 Oil paint, acrylic paint, aluminium, archival paper, UV stabilizers, adhesive, tape, ink and acrylic polymers, shellac, water based primer on wood
Victoria Miro
Model for a Heavy Sky by Sarah Sze contemporary artwork Sarah SzeModel for a Heavy Sky, 2017 Mixed media, string, archival prints, clamps, branches
45.7 x 117.5 x 21.6 cm
Victoria Miro
Model for a Poem in Rhyme by Sarah Sze contemporary artwork Sarah SzeModel for a Poem in Rhyme, 2015 Mixed media
181.6 x 116.8 x 35.6 cm
Victoria Miro

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Sarah Sze, Afterimage at Victoria Miro, London
Closed
8 June–28 July 2018 Sarah Sze Afterimage Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition curated by Hilton Als, Forces in Nature at Victoria Miro, London
Closed
13 October–14 November 2015 Group Exhibition curated by Hilton Als Forces in Nature Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Sarah Sze, Solo Exhibition at Victoria Miro, London
Closed
30 January–28 March 2015 Sarah Sze Solo Exhibition Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, London

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Sarah Sze Ocula Conversation Sarah Sze Artist, USA

Sarah Sze, who represented the United States at the last Venice Biennale, uses a myriad of everyday objects to create site-specific sculptures that are often monumental in size, and always of astonishing intricacy. Daughter of an architect and graduate of painting from Yale, her practice draws on the formal considerations of both architecture...

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In Related Press

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Sarah Sze Paints a Picture Related Press Sarah Sze Paints a Picture Elephant : 30 June 2018

The walls in Sarah Sze's studio are covered by hundreds of images torn roughly into rectangles. Some are pictures of people or landscapes or her earlier work, others read only as colour and texture. Overlapping in clusters, they're taped and pinned along with sketches, tickets, letters, Xeroxes, peeled paint—the way deranged conspiracy...

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American artist Sarah Sze pulls apart her creative process Related Press American artist Sarah Sze pulls apart her creative process Wallpaper* : 14 June 2018

The American sculptor Sarah Sze creates fractured things, exploding or imploding or perhaps both. Her works, built of everyday debris and found objects, wire and sticky tape, are site-specific small universes with their own time frames and lines of energy, spiralling out and often spilling beyond their allotted space

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'We Had to Create Something New': Klaus Biesenbach on Inventing the Berlin Biennale Related Press 'We Had to Create Something New': Klaus Biesenbach on Inventing the Berlin Biennale ARTnews : 7 June 2018

Many of the art spaces in early '90s Berlin were located in vacant, abandoned, often ruined buildings that artists had taken over. Artists were running studio collectives and co-ops, outfitting surprising storefronts, and creating nightclubs and music programs. One very influential artist for me was Daniel Pflumm, who was organizing the...

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The Artist Project: Sarah Sze on the Ancient Egyptians Related Press The Artist Project: Sarah Sze on the Ancient Egyptians PHAIDON : 15 December 2017

Why does the ancient Egyptian Tomb of Perneb, dating from around 2300 BC, remind the contemporary artist Sarah Sze of an Excel spreadsheet?The tomb, which was purchased from the Egyptian government in the early 20th century and has been on display at the Metropolitan Museum ever since, is the kind of formal grave that Egyptologists call a mastaba....

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In Related Video

Sarah Sze: 'Measuring Stick' Related Video & Audio Sarah Sze: 'Measuring Stick' art21 : 7 April 2016

Sarah Sze discusses her sculpture Measuring Stick (2015), which explores the "measurement of time and space through the moving image." Sze remembers watching Charles and Ray Eames's Powers of Ten as a young student in the 1970s, and cites the film as an inspiration for her work. "That was something I always looked forward to...

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