Sarah Sze: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

September 15 - October 17, 2015

Over the past two decades, Sze has challenged the static nature of sculpture, creating constellations of objects, activities, and cataclysmic moments that convey the essence of a new world overwhelmed by fragments of information.

Installation Views
Press release

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new installation and sculptural works by Sarah Sze. The exhibition will be on view from September 10 through October 17, 2015 and is the artist's first major gallery show in the United States since representing the U.S. in the 55th Venice Biennale (2013).  In this new body of work, Sze highlights sound, light, paint and image as materials to sculpt and navigate space.


Over the past two decades, Sze has challenged the static nature of sculpture, creating constellations of objects, activities, and cataclysmic moments that convey the essence of a new world overwhelmed by fragments of information. Known for her inimitable landscapes that blur the boundaries between sculpture, installation, and painting, Sze explores how materials convey meaning and a sense of loss through entropy and absence. Her iconic structures often reference scientific tools, such as pendulums and built models, that attempt to trace space and time, exploring the edge of human perception. Works in the current exhibition further her investigation at the 56th Venice Biennale - Okwui Enwezor's All the World's Futures – in which Sze created an open air field of remnants that evokes a garden’s history and its deteriorating, cloistered world.


On the first floor of the gallery, complex layers of sculptures unfold as a series of experiments, leftovers, or introductions, challenging the distinctions between the process of creation and presentation. The resulting sculptures are disarmingly simple: a pile of wooden planks propped up, drips of paint sliding, photographic borders without images. Stripped to their most essential structure of standing, resting or hanging in suspension, the works together create a landscape that invites viewers to construct a meaningful whole out of discreet, fragmentary parts. The work continues into the spare back room, seeping into the recesses of the gallery, expanding the materials to include fragments of sound, light, and video.


Upstairs, in the sky-lit gallery, a group of works explores the theme of the deteriorating garden. Diaphanous light, dust, and clay create a fragile and suspended landscape of events. In the smaller room, viewers encounter a sculpture entitledMeasuring Stick. In a return to video, Sze questions how we measure time and space, incorporating elements that shift and dissolve as the viewer moves around the piece. A computer within the sculpture scrapes data from a NASA website that measures the distance between Earth and the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which has been in orbit since 1977.  As a counter ticks the seconds in real time, images explode and fracture within the sculptural landscape suggesting the complexity, and ultimate futility, of comprehending such vast distance and speed.


Sarah Sze lives and works in New York. She has a BA from Yale University, 1991 and an M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, New York, 1997. In 2013 Sze represented the United States at the United States Pavilion of the 55th Venice Biennale, and she is currently in the 56th Venice Biennale, All the Worlds Futures, curated by Okwui Enwezor. She has had major solo exhibitions at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; MUDAM, Luxembourg; Asia Society, New York; Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. Her work has been exhibited in such international venues as the Venice Biennale; the Liverpool Biennial; the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh; the Whitney Biennial; and the Sao Paolo Biennial. Sze is a 2003 John and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow. Recent public installations include the University of California at San Francisco Library; the Mott Haven School Campus, Bronx, NY; and “Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat) on the High Line, New York, which was awarded the AICA Award for Best Project in a Public Space in 2012. In 2016 Sze will complete a major commission for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York, at the 96th Street Station of the new Second Avenue subway line. Sarah Sze’s work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Mudam, Fondation Musée d’Art Moderne, Luxembourg, among others. In 2016 Phaidon will publish a monograph of Sarah Sze’s work as part of their Contemporary Artist Series.

All installation images above: Photo by Jason Mandella


A walkthrough video of Sarah Sze at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, 2015