Fondation Cartier, Paris


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press release

Sarah Sze. Night into Day

From October 24, 2020 to March 7, 2021

For her second solo show at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, internationally renowned artist Sarah Sze presents a fully immersive installation that transforms the visitor’s experience of Jean Nouvel’s glass building. Artists and contributors of the exhibition:
Sarah Sze

As an artist, I think about the effort, desire, and continual longing we've had over the years to make meaning of the world around us through materials. And to try and locate a kind of wonder, but also a kind of futility that lies in that very fragile pursuit. Sarah Sze

Since the late 1990s, Sze has created intricate assemblages of everyday objects that blur the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and architecture. In the last five years, she has reintroduced video into her work to explore the growing influx of images in our daily lives and examine how their proliferation has fundamentally changed our relationship to objects, time, and memory.

Twice Twilight and Tracing Fallen Sky, created specifically for this exhibition, are the latest works from Sze’s Timekeeper series, begun in 2015, which investigates the image and the increasing overlaps in our experience of the virtual and material worlds. The planetarium and the pendulum, age-old scientific tools designed to map the cosmos and trace the earth’s rotation, inspired the structure of these sculptures. Sze has long been interested in scientific models as tools to measure time and space and to explain the natural world.

With dramatic shifts in scale—from the vast trajectory of the sun, to the minute action of lighting a match—the artist conveys the mystery and complexity inherent in our constant attempts to measure and model time and space. In contemplating the essence of these concepts, Sze reveals both the wonder and the futility behind our efforts to understand what will always remain just beyond our grasp.

Born 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 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 Malmö Konsthall in Malmö in 2006, and the Musée 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 de São 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.

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.

Sarah Sze exacts accuracy through the abstraction of the world and it representation.
Bruno Latour

Curator : Leanne Sacramone, assisted by Maëlle Coatleven