On View at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria
Monika Sosnowska (Polish, born 1972 in Ryki, Poland) is a sculptor of space, blending minimalism, conceptualism, Constructivism, and elements of modernist architecture into dystopian three-dimensional propositions. Drooping and vertiginous staircases ascending to the sky, spiraling shapes of crumpled window bars, or labyrinthine passageways weaving through an exhibition are examples of the artist’s strangely beautiful objects and installations. But while her works inhabit the fantastical and irregular, logic and restraint also play an important role. Minimalist at heart, Sosnowska’s forms are simple and reductive, suggesting the underlying skeleton or foundational structure of a singular gesture. Typically the artist critiques the existing space where the work is to be exhibited, creating installations that modify and edit the building or site, or render utilitarian elements nonfunctional and ambiguous.
The stairs, 2011, a long-term loan to the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria, was originally seen as part of the artist’s 2011–2012 solo exhibition El Jardín at kurimanzutto in Mexico City. Inspired by the “spontaneous, accidental, organic” urbanism of Mexico City,1 Sosnowska created a body of work comprising an elegant and irregular “garden” of sculpted objects from scratch, occasionally incorporating found elements such as a lamp, car tire, or plastic bowl. In The stairs, the artist copied a typical outdoor staircase in Mexico, then transformed it into a twisting, concentric shape with rectangular extensions. Rendered unrecognizable, the architectural form evokes an abstracted flower bloom or the cosmic rays of a black sun. At Laguna Gloria, the sculpture enters another garden, bringing an alternative perspective to the historic grounds and the existing contemporary works around it.
Sosnowska has lived and worked in Warsaw since 2000, a witness to the city’s tumultuous and ongoing transition from Communist Soviet bloc rule to capitalist democracy. Perhaps influenced by the urban landscape moving through stages of upheaval, destruction, and renewal and rebuilding, Sosnowska has turned her attention to systems of modernization as seen through the lens of architecture and space, poking holes in the perceived certainty of these underlying structures and implied commands. Much of her work leads nowhere, so to speak, in that Sosnowska perpetually captures and explores the in-between: liminal, transitory, unstable, and disorienting constructions that are as much about presence as the gaps or spaces they create in absentia. Sosnowska’s proposals seem to argue that in pulling aside the curtain on the illusive nature of built spaces governing the world around us, anything is possible.
—Heather Pesanti, Senior Curator
Monika Sosnowska (Polish, born 1972 in Ryki, Poland) currently lives and works in Warsaw. The artist studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland, from 1993 to 1998, and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam from 1999 to 2000.
Sosnowska’s recent solo exhibitions include Ginza Maison Hermès, Tokyo, and Fundação de Serralves, Porto (both 2015); Hauser & Wirth, New York (2014); the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Aspen Art Museum, and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (all 2013); Public Art Fund, New York City, and The Modern Institute, Glasgow (both 2012); the Tamayo Museum, Mexico City (2011); and the K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf (2010). In 2010, Sosnowska was an International Artist-in-Residence at Artpace, San Antonio, with an accompanying solo exhibition. In addition, the artist has had residencies at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2004), and S-AIR, Sapporo (2002). Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions at venues throughout the world, including the Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (both 2014); the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2012); and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010).
In 2007, Sosnowska represented Poland at the 52nd Venice Biennale.