Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain presents an immersive installation created by Sarah Sze
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Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain presents an immersive installation created by Sarah Sze
Sarah Sze, Twice Twilight. Photo: Luc-Boegly.

PARIS.- For her second solo show at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, the internationally acclaimed artist Sarah Sze 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 exhibition, the artist explores 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 brings together for the first time in her work the architectural, the sculptural and the filmic, altering the visitor’s perception of space and time.

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 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.

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.

Night Vision, an experience in augmented reality
In conjunction with Sarah Sze’s exhibition Night into Day, the Fondation Cartier for contemporary art has produced Night Vision the artist’s first work using augmented reality technology. Comprised of videos drawn from the installations Twice Twilight and Tracing Fallen Sky, this application transforms visitors’ perception of reality by bringing them into a dreamlike nocturnal environment. A sound piece created by Sarah Sze heightens this immersive experience. The application is available exclusively on ipads at the Fondation Cartier during the first month following the opening of the exhibition, then downloadable from the Apple Store and Google Play from November 24 onwards. Developed in collaboration with the digital agency Cher Ami, it invites the audience to explore the artist’s work in an intimate and playful way.

Sarah Sze gleans objects and images from worlds both physical and digital, collaging them into complex multimedia works that shift scale between microscopic observation and macroscopic perspective on the infinite. Including proliferating media such as sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, video, and installation, her body of work grapples with matters of entropy and temporality and addresses the precarious nature of materiality.

Born in 1969 in Boston, Sarah Sze earned a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1991 and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York, in 1997. While still in graduate school, she challenged the very nature of sculpture at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) in New York by burrowing into the walls of the building, creating sculptural portals and crafting ecosystems that radically transformed the host architecture. In 1999, for her first solo institutional exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, she presented Many a Slip, an immersive installation sprawling through several rooms in which flickering projections were scattered among complex assemblages of everyday objects. This marked Sarah Sze’s first Curator: Leanne Sacramone, assisted by Malle Coatleven foray into video, which has since become a central medium of her installations. Citing the Russian Constructivist notion of the “kiosk” as a key inspiration, she conceived subsequent installations as portable stations for the interchange of images and the exchange of information. In 2015, Sarah Sze began her series Timekeeper, which explores the origin of the moving image and mirrors the endless flow of information that overwhelms us every day. This ongoing series includes Measuring Stick (2015), Timekeeper (2016), Centrifuge (2017), Images in Debris (2018), Flashpoint (Timekeeper) (2018), Crescent (Timekeeper) (2019), Plein Air (Times Zero), Twice Twilight, and Tracing Fallen Sky (2020).

Sarah Sze has held major solo exhibitions worldwide, including at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in 1998, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris in 1999, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 2002, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 2003, the Malm Konsthall in Malm in 2006, and the Muse d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg in 2012. Her work was included in the 48th Venice Biennale and the Carnegie International in 1999, the Whitney Biennial in 2000, and the Bienal of So Paulo in 2002. In 2013, she represented the United States at the 55th Venice Biennale.

Sarah Sze was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2003, and a Radcliffe Fellowship from Harvard University in 2005. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2018. She is represented by Victoria Miro Gallery, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, and Gagosian Gallery. Sze is a Professor of Visual Art at Columbia University in New York, where she currently lives.

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