Press release

Sarah Sze

For her second show at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, the internationally acclaimed artist Sarah Sze will create an immersive installation that transforms the visitor’s perception and experience of Jean Nouvel’s iconic building.

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 hovering waist high above the floor. The spherical sculpture is composed of photographs, objects, light, sound, video projectors and 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. An augmented reality project will accompany the exhibition, allowing visitors to add to the artist’s flux of images.

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