In the age of the image, a painting is a sculpture. A sculpture is a marker in time.
Gagosian is pleased to present new works by American artist Sarah Sze. This is Sze’s first gallery exhibition in Italy, following her participation in the Biennale di Venezia in 2013 (Triple Point, US Pavilion) and 2015.
Sze’s art utilizes genres as generative frameworks, uniting intricate networks of objects and images across multiple dimensions and mediums, from sculpture to painting, drawing, printmaking, and video installation. She has been credited with changing the very potential of sculpture. Working from an inexhaustible supply of quotidian materials, she assesses the texture and metabolism of everything she touches, then works to preserve, alter, or extend it. Likewise, images culled from countless primary and secondary sources migrate from the screen to manifest on all manner of physical supports—or as light itself.
A video installation, the latest of Sze’s Timekeeper series begun in 2015, transforms the oval gallery of Gagosian Rome into a lanterna magica, an immersive environment that is part sculpture, part cinema. In these studies of the image in motion, at once expansive and intimate, time, place, distance, and the construction of memory are engaged through a mesmerizing flux of projected images, both personal and found. A sort of Plato’s Cave, the new work confronts the viewer from simultaneous points of view: moving pictures of people, animals, scenes, and abstractions unfold, flickering and orbiting randomly like thought, or life itself.
In an in-situ gesture that links the darkened video gallery with the adjoining room of new panel paintings, Sze materializes light as a spill of paint applied directly to the stone floor. In the paintings, her nuanced sculptural language adapts to the conditions of the flat support. In delicate yet bold layers of paint, ink, paper, prints, and objects, the three dimensions of bricolage are parsed into the two dimensions of collage. Here, color draws its substantive energies as much from the innate content of found images as from paint and ink. Fields of static, blots, and cosmic vortices emerge out of archival material drawn from the studio and its daily workings in endless visual permutations that collide and overlap in an abundance of surface detail.
In November, Sze will add her first outdoor stone sculpture to the exhibition, a natural boulder split open like a geode. Each of the two revealed cuts has a sunset sky embedded in its flat surface, alluding to both the images perceptible in gongshi (scholar’s rocks) and the heavenly subjects of Renaissance paintings.
From November 19, Sze’s large-scale installation Seamless (1999) will be on view at Tate Modern, London.
To coincide with Sze’s exhibition at Gagosian Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Roma will present Sze in conversation with contemporary art historian Dr. Lara Demori on Friday, October 12, at 7pm.