Tweaking and torqing the formal minimalist idiom, 38-year old Polish artist Monika Sosnowska conjoins architecture and sculpture to explore the poetics and politics of space. She builds forms in response to specific sites, then manipulates them – collapsing, twisting and squeezing her work into alternate settings, creating labyrinths and optical illusions, birthing parasitic structures in ways that alter not only our perceptions of the physical areas around us but of psychological states within. Highlighting the banality of the material world we inhabit, Sosnowksa recalls the cultural conceits that produced buildings and their details, often those of the failed utopia of People’s Poland. Within the intense emotional force field of her work many of the things we assume, are simply no longer certain.
On November 5th, Hauser & Wirth New York will present the gallery’s first solo exhibition by the artist. Monika Sosnowska will feature seven major new, unique sculptures created specifically for this exhibition. These will remain on view through December 18th.
The works presented at Hauser & Wirth are based upon Sosnowska’s recent residency at Artpace San Antonio, and are inspired by the ubiquitous emergency stairwells that scale the sides of old buildings throughout that city and others where the artist has spent time. The image of a zigzagging fire escape has become intuitive within Western architectural iconography. In response, Sosnowska has fabricated her own stairwell, stripping it of its functionality by dismantling the main elements – a horizontal metal platform, a balustrade, stairs, a ladder extension, and so forth – and giving each component its own autonomous sculptural identity. Together the pieces would comprise a small, working fire escape; taken apart, however, the segments are misshapen and warped beyond use, presented as a series of individual vignettes in space.
Sosnowska’s formal language echoes different contradictory modernisms: that of the Polish constructivism of the 1930s, the minimal and conceptual tendencies of the international art of the 1960s and 1970s, and the Socialist architecture found in Eastern European states. History is thus encountered as both local and international, a force that moves at different speeds resulting in the buckling of cultures under its pressure. Space is encountered as a psychosomatic quality, as political as its experience is personal, forever veering in the mind of the viewer between the uncanny and the Sublime.
Join Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles in collaboration with Southern California Institue of Architecture for a discussion between architects Marcelyn Gow & Florencia Pita on the work of Monika Sosnowska. Drawing from their unique backgrounds and on the occasion of the artist’s first show in Los Angeles – ‘Monika…
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Join us for a hands-on Family Studio exploring themes of our summer exhibition ‘Monika Sosnowka‘. About the Studio: Working with pipe-cleaners, unfired clay, and building models, families will ‘sample’ source material from everyday architecture to create objects inspired by Sosnowska’s lived experience of Polish modernist architecture. Like…
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About the artist
Monika Sosnowska’s sculptural language emerges from a process of experimentation with, and the appropriation of, construction materials such as steel beams, concrete, reinforcing rods and pipes. These elements—the solid and rigid foundations of buildings—are manipulated and warped, taking on an independence in…Learn more