sarah sze represents the US at venice art biennale 2013
original content
jun 17, 2013
sarah sze represents the US at venice art biennale 2013


sarah sze: triple point (gleaner), 2013
photograph of rock printed on tyvek, trees, moss, rocks, aluminum, wood, steel, bricks, stone, sandbags, outdoor pump, outdoor lights, mixed media
dimensions variable
© sarah sze, courtesy of the artist, tanya bonakdar gallery, new york, and victoria miro gallery, london
photo: tom powel imaging

 

 

the work of sarah sze responds directly to the locations they have been commissioned for, transforming one’s perspective of space and architecture through radical shifts in scale, occupying the often overlooked or peripheral areas of the addressed building with her large-scale interventions. representing the US at the 2013 venice art biennale, the boston-born artist has not only taken over the rooms of the 1930s building by william adams delano and chester holmes aldrich with a series of interrelated pieces, but has extended her exhibition outwards to encompass exterior, approach and exit, engaging with the neoclassical design on another level, challenging its palladian sense of order. the layout of the US pavilion typically invites visitors into a rotunda through a central entrance. however from here, the four galleries are divided (two positioned on either side of the domed foyer), forcing one choose which direction to go in, and then making them back track in order to view the other rooms. wanting to create a more intuitive experience, sze has closed off the main access, guiding visitors around to the side of the building to enter from the left orientating them to travel through the structure in a logical way. one meanders through the series of seemingly crude, but calculated installations, made of an assemble of objects which sze has found and collected throughout venice, the artist’s effort to inscribe a very fragile personal order in a disordered universe.

 

 


sarah sze: triple point (gleaner), 2013
image © designboom

 

one experiences ‘triple point’ immediately in the courtyard where ‘gleaner’, a teetering structure climbs and descends the exterior, situated to the right of the pavilion’s main entrance. coalescing to form an exterior space which fully reveals itself fully only later on, its position redirects one’s access to the interior to a former exit door to the left of the entry rotunda, where they are met by sze’s makeshift structures, the assemblages appearing unfinished, but notably recalling models, machines and facilities such as a laboratory, planetarium, observatory and pendulum.

 

 

 
sarah sze: triple point (scale), 2013
aluminum, plastic, photograph of rock printed on tyvek
40 x 56 x 45 inches (101.6 x 142.2 x 114.3 cm)
© sarah sze, courtesy of the artist, tanya bonakdar gallery, new york, and victoria miro gallery, london
photo: tom powel imaging

 


sarah sze: triple point (planetarium), 2013
wood, steel, plastic, stone, string, fans, overhead projectors, photograph of rock printed on tyvek, mixed media
249 x 216 x 198 inches (632.5 x 548.6 x 502.9 cm)
© sarah sze, courtesy of the artist, tanya bonakdar gallery, new york, and victoria miro gallery, london
photo: tom powel imaging

 

the work’s name is derived from the term used in thermodynamics whereby at a specific temperature and pressure, all three phases–gas, liquid, solid–of a substance exist in perfect equilibrium with one another. for sze, ‘triple point’ also refers to triangulation and the measurement of distances from three ordinal points to specify a unique location in space.

 

sarah sze: detail of triple point (planetarium), 2013
image © designboom

 

the notion of ‘compass’ is carried across the installations, in which sze explores how we navigate and locate ourselves in a ‘perpetually disorienting world’. ‘each of the rooms function as an experimental site, in which objects attempt to become instruments or assemblages that seek to measure or model  our location in time and space. the aspiration to build models to capture complexity–and the impossibility of that undertaking–underscores this body of work,‘ says the artist.

 

 

 
sarah sze: detail of triple point (planetarium), 2013
image © designboom

 

sze’s approach to the pavilion is that she saw the site as a place of live observation and experimentation. developed over the course of three-months, the installation was constantly changing–parts of it erased, becoming ‘archaeological remnants or failed experiments’, as she says, but still remaining a historical piece of its conception even if they are no longer physically a part of the larger work. like most of her practice, the artist drew on the immediate environment around her, evidenced in the photographs of stone, and architectural materials of venice, as well as tickets from the local water taxis presented, which she has systematically assembled into thematic arrangements.

 

 


sarah sze: triple point (planetarium), 2013
image © designboom

 

 

 
sarah sze: triple point (pendulum), 2013
salt, water, stone, string, projector, video, pendulum, mixed media
dimensions variable
© sarah sze, courtesy of the artist, tanya bonakdar gallery, new york, and victoria miro gallery, london
photo: tom powel imaging

 

 


sarah sze: triple point (observatory), 2013
mirrors, photograph of rock printed on tyvek, wood, aluminum, metal, mixed media
dimensions variable
© sarah sze, courtesy of the artist, tanya bonakdar gallery, new york, and victoria miro gallery, london
photo: tom powel imaging

 

at the end of the exhibition, the visitor arrives in ‘observatory’, whereby they are confronted by ‘gleaner’ on the exterior, the garden-like space framed like  a photograph or painting by a wall of glass. a 1970s alteration to the building, it is often concealed, but sze makes it an integral part of the final stage of ‘triple point’ where the architecture becomes the device through which only aspects of the greater installation are reflected and refracted, but remain out of one’s reach.

 


sarah sze: triple point (observatory), 2013
image © designboom

 

 


sarah sze
photo by suki dhanda

 

 

sarah sze: triple point is presented by the bronx museum of the arts in cooperation with the u.s. department of state’s bureau of educational and cultural affairs at the 55th international art exhibition, la biennale di venezia. U.S. representation at this global event ensures that the excellence, vitality, and diversity of the arts in the united states are effectively showcased abroad and provides an opportunity to engage foreign audiences to increase mutual understanding.

 

lead foundation support for sarah sze: triple point has been provided by the ford foundation, in keeping with its commitment to fostering free and creative expression in society and in the arts. the 2013 US pavilion has been co-commissioned by holly block, executive director of the bronx museum of the arts, and carey lovelace, a 2010 andrew and marilyn heiskell fellow at the american academy in rome, and former co-president of the international association of art critics, U.S. chapter.

 

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