Sarah Sze

Art21 "Extended Play" | "Measuring Stick"
April 1, 2016

Episode #234: 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 seeing." Sze's sculpture originally began as a film but evolved into a three-dimensional work that resembles an editing desk, reflecting the moving image through the inclusion of flickering light, and references to "scientist image-makers." Sze describes the diaphanous sculpture as an "experimental site" that "tries to actually measure a kind of behavior."


Sarah Sze builds her installations and intricate sculptures from the minutiae of everyday life, imbuing mundane materials, marks, and processes with surprising significance. By arranging domestic detritus and office supplies into fantastical miniatures, she builds her works, fractal-like, on an architectural scale. Whether adapting to a site or disrupting the urban fabric, Sze's patchwork compositions mirror the improvisational quality of cities, balancing whimsy with ecological themes of interconnectivity and sustainability.