American artist Sarah Sze pulls apart her creative process
The American sculptor Sarah Sze creates fractured things, exploding or imploding or perhaps both. Her works, built of everyday debris and found objects, wire and sticky tape, are site-specific small universes with their own time frames and lines of energy, spiralling out and often spilling beyond their allotted space.
For her new show at Victoria Miro’s London gallery in Islington, Sze does something unusual, flattening her centrifugal forces and pinning them to a wall. They still contain multitudes but here, in a series called Afterimage, much of it put together on site, she pulls apart her creative process, her workings out, ruminations and reflections.
Afterimage, Yellow Blow Out (Painting in its Archive), 2018, by Sarah Sze, oil paint, acrylic paint, archival paper, UV stabilisers, adhesive, tape, ink and acrylic polymers, shellac, water based primer on wood. © Sarah Sze. Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice
Unpacking her impulses, Sze paints over printouts of photographs of her paintings, cuts up, tears and pastes. There are literal spirals, giant fingerprints, screen prints, etchings, scratchings and blown up pixels. This is a kind of cubism of the age of information overload, getting to the contemporary splintering, the attempt to contextualise and edit the daily rush of digital and IRL information.
Something similar happens upstairs but here we are in Sze’s more familiar three dimensions. She has installed a stand in for her desk and multiple screens. And around them moving images – a running cheetah, landscape from a train – are projected onto torn pieces of paper and onto the gallery walls.
There is though no choreography to the way the images run, no master plan, no edit. Just beguiling flow. Images in Debris is a classic Sze constellation, a study in memory and identity, but with a new kind of slow dynamism, a different kind of engine. §