Sarah Sze

When 16 Sep 2010 - 23 Oct 2010
Where Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
521 W 21st Street
NY, NY 10011
United States
Enquiry 212 414 1535

Installation View, 2010.  Courtesy of the artist Tanya Bonakdar Gallery NY

September 16 – October 23 2010

Press Release:

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is very pleased to announce its first solo exhibition of new work by Sarah Sze. Among the most influential and esteemed artists of her generation, Sze has exhibited regularly in numerous major international museums and biennials since the late 90s. This presentation marks the artist’s first gallery exhibition in New York in over five years. The show will feature a wide range of newly conceived installations, exhibiting the full dynamic vocabulary of the artist’s work, and filling the entire two-floor exhibition space of the gallery.

Sarah Sze recontextualizes objects that normally exist within the periphery of our everyday lives, exploiting our ability to recognize them while highlighting their intimate details and reflecting our behavior in relationship to them. Using meticulously crafted and colorful compositions, the artist causes the viewer’s perspective to undulate between microcosmic and macrocosmic worlds. Time, movement and navigation are key to the experience of Sze’s work and the exhibition as a whole. There is no single viewing point, as reality and meaning shifts with each step, creating a sequence of visual experiences. Sze elicits internal movement as well; reflecting and projecting light, positioning oscillating table fans upon strings or levers. Blurring the boundary between art and life, outside and interior worlds, Sze creates atmospheres, suggesting both familiarity and alienation, in which objects share our space while also occupying another dimension.

In one of the main installations, downstairs, Sarah Sze presents a monumental, visual encyclopedia of hundreds of objects, many delicately composed, which together seem to shift and spin against gravity to create a sense of disorientation for the viewer. Industrial shelves, working lamps, milk cartons, and other varied detritus from our everyday lives tilt almost to their tipping point, as the entire floor plan appears to shift physics. Sze’s piece evokes the past and the future as both an archaeological ruin and a site of new construction. The work is light and airy, yet structured, and is experienced differently depending from which point the viewer approaches. Walking up to and inside the work, the visitor feels a sensation of time and space slowing down, followed by reorientation, as Sze plays with gravity and the illusion of speed through the long, horizontal lines. Objects seem to hover in suspended animation, with angles creating slight confusion and vertigo, and a sense that the structure might be falling apart. At once the piece feels much more fragile, and the lines between architecture and ornament, the real and the false, are blurred.

In another work, water in a bowl is gently reflected onto a small piece of paper, and then further projected around the room. Animated light and shadows dance on all four walls, like a silent, abstract film originating from a tiny, artificial world containing order and chaos. Sze’s constructions seem to hold clues to the secrets of the universe, as well as function as abandoned remnants or evidence of some unknown event, or both.

Upstairs in one of the second floor gallery spaces, a large, spherical composition evokes the concept of a portable planetarium. Mixing both architectural structures and scientific models, the artist challenges the hubris of our human ambition to constantly imagine and map out the universe. Following transitions from one image or object to the next, the visitor reads an infinite flowchart of interconnectivity, constructing an entirely unique visual narrative with each experience.

Living and working in New York, Sarah Sze has a degree in painting from Yale University, 1991 and an M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 1997. She has had major solo exhibitions at 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 Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, the Whitney Biennial, and the Sao Paolo Biennial. Sze is a 2003 John and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow. Upcoming exhibitions/projects include a permanent installations at the University of California at San Francisco Library (opening winter 2010) and at the Mott Haven School Campus, Bronx, NY (opening fall 2010); Transformative, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan, October 29, 2010 – January 30, 2011 (group); a choreographic collaboration with Trajal Harell, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (November 2010), traveling to The New Museum, New York (fall 2011); Sarah Sze: Works on Paper, Asia Society, New York, September 9, 2011 – January 2, 2012; a permanent installation for Estuaire, Nantes, France, Spring 2011; Mudam Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Spring 2011 (solo).

For more information, please contact the gallery at 212-414-4144 or visit