ParisSarah Sze: Night into Day
For her solo show at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, the internationally acclaimed artist Sarah Sze has created an immersive installation that transforms the visitor’s perception and experience of Jean Nouvel’s iconic building.
Sarah Sze is best known for her intricate assemblages of everyday objects that blur the boundaries between painting, sculpture and architecture. For her upcoming exhibition, the artist will explore the way in which the proliferation of images— printed in magazines, gleaned from the Web, intercepted from outer space—fundamentally changes our relationship to objects, time and memory. Confusing the boundaries between inside and outside, mirage and reality, past and present, her new installation will bring together for the first time in her work the architectural, the sculptural and the filmic, altering the visitor’s perception of space and time.
As an artist, I think about the effort, desire, and continual longing we’ve had over the years to make meaning of the world around us through materials. And to try and locate a kind of wonder, but also a kind of futility that lies in that very fragile pursuit.
Playing with the transparency of the architecture Sze casts moving images onto the glass walls of the ground floor galleries, turning the building into a magic lantern as they collide, shift in scale, disappear and reemerge. Upon entering the building, visitors are drawn to a fragile planetarium-like sculpture that seems to float in the gallery space. The spherical sculpture is composed of photographs, objects, light, sound and video projections on torn paper, all held in an orchestrated suspension by a delicate scaffolding of bamboo and metal rods.
The Fondation Cartier’s building involves the effect of blurring limits : not knowing exactly what is there and what is not, where it starts and where it ends.
Jean Nouvel, architect
The imagery Sze collects shifts in scale from the vast to the minute. Much of the imagery depicts the timeless elements of nature: earth, fire, water; and natural processes: the movement of clouds, the eruption of a geyser or the growth of a plant. Other images, shot from an iphone or culled from the Internet, capture materials from daily life being transformed before our eyes: shaving chalk, cutting foam, burning wood – offering the viewer an experience of the tactile in our image-saturated world. Sze splices together disparate content that viewers, upon moving through the space, edit together through the act of seeing and reading images to create their own narrative of the work.
Sarah Sze exacts accuracy through the abstraction of the world and its representation.
Bruno Latour, sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher
Circling the circumference of the building, the artwork leads to a second space where instead of looking up into a carved out sphere, visitors look down into a mirrored, concave, fragmented structure. Like a bowl of reflective water, the sculpture’s steel surfaces reflect slivers of surrounding images and objects – producing an unsettling and fractured landscape of shards and pieces, glimpses and refractions. A pendulum swings above the sculpture, barely touching its concave surface, carving out the negative space from above.
Inspired by age old scientific measuring devices such as the planetarium and the pendulum, designed to help map the earth and the cosmos, Sze’s installations seem to strive and ultimately recognize our failure to fully model the inscrutable concepts of time, space and memory.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Sze currently lives and works in New York. In 1999, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain was the first French institution to offer her a large solo show.
Sarah Sze represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2013 and many of her works are held in the collections of prestigious institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, as well as The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Recent institutional exhibitions include Sarah Sze at Copenhagen Contemporary, Denmark, in 2017; Sarah Sze. Centrifuge at the Haus der Kunst, Munich (2017- 2018) ; Sarah Sze. Afterimage at the Victoria Miro Gallery, London (2018) and Sarah Sze at the Gagosian Gallery, Paris (2020).
Curator : Leanne Sacramone, assisted by Maëlle Coatleven
View from the exhibition Night Into Day at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain. © Sarah Sze. Photo © Luc Boegly © Edouard Caupeil © Thibaut Voisin