Sarah Sze: METRONOME: OGR Torino – Binario 1

November 3, 2023 - February 11, 2024
Installation Views
Press release

In the vast spaces of OGR Torino, hundreds of images come to life and expand like an explosive force. This is METRONOME, the inaugural solo exhibition in an Italian institution by American artist Sarah Sze (born in Boston in 1969), thoughtfully curated by OGR Torino’s Senior Curator, Samuele Piazza, and it will continue to captivate audiences until February 11, 2024, within the spaces of Binario 1.

The exhibition – co-commissioned and co-produced by OGR Torino, Artangel, London and ARoS , Aarhus, with the support of Victoria Miro – presents a large environmental installation that alludes to the hurricane of information and images that characterizes our present and reflects the complexity of the artist’s poetics. Since the late 1990s, Sarah Sze has developed a visual language that challenges the static nature of sculpture. Installed for the very first time in 2023 in the waiting room of London’s Peckham Rye station, which reopened to the public after over 60 years, this expansive installation seamlessly carries forward its exhibition legacy within OGR Torino’s industrial spaces, coeval with the English station. The architectural resonance between these two spaces, both bearing witness to the 19th-century industrial revolution, reflects a moment of profound technological acceleration that fundamentally reshaped the human experience of time and space.

Today we are immersed in a new epochal revolution triggered by technological innovation, which has generated an unprecedented proliferation of images. This proliferation is due to the ease with which they can be produced, consumed, and disseminated by an increasingly broad and interconnected audience.

Through a constellation of objects and images, Sze’s work seeks to reshape the incessant flow of data in contemporary life. The artist reinterprets the visual narratives that we accumulate daily from reality, newspapers, television, portable devices, and cyberspace to investigatehow a body immersed in a circuit of consumption and production knows no pauses. The increasing interpenetration between the physical and virtual realms multiplies, fragments, and unites in unexpected configurations.

Sarah Sze’s visual language – which the writer Zadie Smith has likened to a “sort of exploded iPhone” where deconstructed technology and memory burst into a three-dimensional space – challenges the static nature of sculpture, urging a fresh exploration of traditional media categorizations.

METRONOME places the visitor in front of a fragile cosmos made of hundreds of elements. An intricate metal grid suspends a series of paper sheets, upon which images flow from multiple projections. The sculpture gives rise to the images, and the images to the sculpture, in a continuum where the work is both an artwork and a device. These projections extend into the space, completely engulfing Binario 1 of OGR, embracing the walls and morphing the architecture into one unified environmental installation. Immersed within the artwork, the audience becomes an integral part of a bursting cinematic narrative, a phantasmagoria of constantly moving images, partly structured by chapters within the projection and partly determined by what each viewer’s eye can capture.

As the title of the work implies, METRONOME serves as a meditation on time. The sound of a metronome accompanies the visitor’s experience, marking a shared temporal journey where different rhythms and life cycles coexist. In a recent interview, Sze referenced Carlo Rovelli’s The Order of Time as a source of inspiration:

“I’ve learned that time passes more quickly in the mountains than at sea level,” the artist emphasized. As Rovelli explains, “lower down, all processes are slower. Two friends separate; with one of them living inthe plains, and the other going to live in the mountains. They meet up again years later: the one who has stayed down has lived less, aged less, the mechanism of his cuckoo clock has oscillated fewer times.”

METRONOME eludes mechanical, linear, and chronological definitions, exploring the unpredictability and diversity of temporal experiences. It is intertwined with personal experiences and may be more akin to how quantum physics describes it.




All images:

Installation view, Sarah Sze, METRONOME, 2023, OGR Torino, Italy.

Photo by Andrea Rossetti