“Sarah Sze”


Sarah Sze (Phaidon)

“When I think about sculpture, I’m thinking as much about the dispersal of objects as the agglomeration of objects,” begins Sarah Sze in “conversation” with 2015 Venice Biennial curator Okwui Enwezor. Although seemingly at odds, her juxtaposition of “agglomeration” and “dispersal” is an apt starting point into the eponymous monograph for the New York-based artist. Initially trained as an architect and painter, Sze describes her interest in sculpture as “a base where you can challenge the idea of anything,” though visually her work seems more a means of processing than challenging, as she gathers and organizes seemingly mundane materials, “culled from the spectacle of the everyday,” to create robust, obsessive, A Beautiful Mind-style installations. The result of such accumulation is a vociferous balance of micro/macro aesthetics with an empirical, scientific twist. Guiding the reader through the lexicon of her influences, inspirations and self-described improvised installations, the book balances analytical essays from art historian at Harvard University, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh and curator of contemporary art at MoMA, Laura Hoptman with inspirations of the “artist’s choice,” Sze’s own writing, and past interviews with the likes of curator/critic Hans Ulrich Obrist, art writer Jeffrey Kastner and internationally recognized artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. The multiple texts provide various investigations of Sze’s architectonic installations, accompanied by ample photographs with installation shots and myriad detail views allowing the reader the visually explore these oft-ephemeral works. Hoptman describes Sze’s 2013 Venice installation at the US Pavilion, Triple Point, as inspired by “the planetarium, the orrery and the pendulum,” which are pointedly scientific tools “created in the quest for knowledge of the cosmos.” Here, we might locate that sculptural embodiment of the artist’s desire to challenge such heroic intentions. This is, perhaps, best summarized in one of the excerpts selected by Sze from Jorge Luis Borges’ The Analytical Language of John Wilkins (1952), in which the author writes: “it is clear that there is no classification of the Universe not being arbitrary and full of conjectures. The reason for this is very simple: we do not know what thing the universe is.”-ME