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The new exhibition of Monika Sosnowska

The new exhibition of Monika Sosnowska

Saturday 04.09.10 21:00   -  Saturday 08.01.11 
Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art
4 Ha'banim St , Herzliya



The well-known Polish artist Monika Sosnowska will present her exhibition “The Staircase” in Israel.

The Staircase,” an installation by Polish artist Monika Sosnowska, is a monumental installation towering over 5 meters. Nirith Nelson, the exhibition’s curator and director of the Jerusalem Center for the Visual Arts (JCVA), has hosted Sosnowska in 2008 for the center’s residency program. During her stay Sosnowska was offered by the JCVA an architectural tour of Tel Aviv and on this tour found the inspiration for her site-specific installation “The Staircase” at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art.

This much-hailed Polish installation artist has been gaining wide recognition for her complex, architectural, site-specific works. She has been conducting an ongoing dialogue with modern architecture for several years, particularly with the architecture of her place of residence in the suburbs of Warszawa, Poland. In her works, she often transforms the architectural forms by wrinkling, crushing, and cutting. She addresses Modern architecture, which is in a state of deterioration, in a critical manner. Nevertheless, she shows compassion in her attitude towards the objects. This compassion stems from childhood memories she has of this type of architecture.

The exhibition is supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the 2008-2009 Poland Year in Israel, the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv and JCVA.

The Opening at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art Saturday, 4 September 2010, at 9:00pm
“The Staircase” exhibition will be open from 4.09.2010 until 8.01.2011

herzeliamuseum amickiewicz jcva


Artist, born 1972 in Ryki, Poland. Her works exist only for a limited time and are then subject to destruction. Sosnowska studied in 1992-93 at the Schola Posnaniensis (private art academy in Poznan), 1993-98 at the Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, and 1999-2000 at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam (postgraduate studies).

In 2003 Sosnowska was awarded the prestigious Baloise Art Prize in Basel, and Polityka's Passport, given by Poland's most influential weekly. She lives and works in Warsaw, where she is represented by the Foksal Gallery Foundation.



Monika Sosonowska

During her studies in Poznan she painted, but as she states herself, during her last years at the Academy, "painting started to escape her canvas". She then realized many works which were a play between the painting and space, and finally resigned from canvas altogether, treating space as a 3D painting.

Sosnowska treats space as a medium for her works, which only exist for a limited time and are then subject to destruction. She always designs her projects for a given space. In 2000 in Amsterdam she realized "The Additional Illumination". During the summer solstice, on the Royal Academy of Art's highest roof, she placed hundreds of lamps which lighted the sky from dawn to dusk, helping the sun. In the following work from the same year, "Partly Non-Existent Space", Monika Sosnowska sank part of a room in black, so that it lost its materiality, and the illusion was additionally enhanced by the fact that the viewer could peep into the interior only through a glass door.

Sosnowska makes some interventions and modifications in existing or specially prepared architectural forms, changing the physical space into mental space, and playing with the viewer's perception. Her works are always intriguing, contain an element of surprise, and the viewer inside them begins to lose his sense of orientation and wonders whether he is in a real or fictional space. One of the formal tricks the artist uses is to play with scale, most often in the context of the human body. The point of departure of "Little Alice", created in 2001 at the Center for Contemporary Art "Ujazdowski Castle" in Warsaw, was precisely this kind of joke: the artist, inspired by the adventures of "Alice in Wonderland", decided to build four rooms for the changing heights of its protagonist. She designed them in en filade and painted them in the Victorian style. The rooms get smaller and smaller, the last one big enough for a mouse. As Sosnowska remarked:

"I am especially interested in the moments when architectural space starts to acquire the aspects of the mental one." (Monika Sosnowska, "Mala Alicja", www.csw.art.pl).

"Therefore, the artist considers the spectator's body as an element of the game she plays on the edge between reality and imagination." - Aneta Szylak, Construction Works, in: "Architectures of Gender: Contemporary Women's Art in Poland", exhibition catalogue, SculptureCenter, 2003

In the group exhibition "Painting Competition" in 2001 in Galeria Bielska BWA, Sosnowska painted a gigantic folk cut-out in the form of old peasant women in long, broad skirts, with hens growing from their hands, on the exterior wall of the building. The painting was additionally amusing because of its "psychedelic" pink color. At "Manifesta 4" in Frankfurt am Main (2002), Sosnowska built a labyrinth-like row of claustrophobic, square rooms, in each of which she placed two or three doors leading to identical white cells. Circling in this labyrinth, the viewer looked for the exit. In 2003 at the exhibition "Hidden in a Daylight" organized by the Foksal Gallery Foundation in Cieszyn, Sosnowska chose as the theme of her work Łowicz folk stripes. Using their typical bold colors, she made a curtain of thin, plastic stripes, with which she divided the gallery space in half. After crossing the curtain, the viewer could see a colorful, spiral composition on the ceiling which recalled a spinning Łowicz skirt.

In 2003 Monika Sosnowska took part in the 50th Venice Biennale's exhibition "Clandestini" curated by Francesco Bonami (Biennale director). She built in the Arsenale a corridor over a dozen meters long, the walls of which she covered to half their height with green lamperia. The corridor seemed very long, but it was only an optical illusion, a joke on perspective as adapted to a 3D situation. In reality, the corridor was short, and as one entered it, one realized that the space lowered and narrowed rapidly - there was no way to remain upright as one approached the doors visible at its end.

At the contemporary art fair in Basel, Monika Sosnowska, representing the Foksal Gallery Foundation, gained instant success in winning one of the two awards given annually to the most promising young artists showing at the Art Basel. The awarded work was purchased by Kunsthalle Hamburg. This narrow 6-meter-long and completely white corridor, divided by 6 pairs of white doors, created a clearly "kafkaesque" situation, in which architecture starts to control human emotions and becomes a medium of oppression.

Source: English text based on a profile prepared by Ewa Gorzadek, curator at the Center for Contemporary Art "Ujazdowski Castle", March 2004; Polish Cultural Institute in New York

Monika Sosnowska's solo shows include those at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León - MUSAC, León, Spain (2006); Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne (2006, 2005); Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw (2005, 2002); The Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna; OPA, Guadalajara, Mexico (both 2005); The Modern Institute, Glasgow; De Appel Gallery, Amsterdam; The Serpentine Gallery, London; Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (all in 2004); Laura Pecci Gallery, Milan (2003); CCA "Zamek Ujazdowski", Warsaw (2001); Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2000, 1999)

She participated in several group shows, including: "ARS 06 - Sense of the Real", Kiasma Museum, Helsinki; "Satellite of Love", Witte de With, Rotterdam (2006); "We Disagree", Andrew Kreps and Wrong Gallery, New York; "Glasgow International", Sculpture Studios, Glasgow (2005); "Distances?", Le Plateau, Paris; "Parallel Action", Cieszyn, organized by Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw (2004); "Art Focus 4", Israel Festival, Jerusalem; "Contemporary Art for all Children", Zacheta National Art Gallery, Warsaw; Istanbul Biennale; , Kurimanzutto, Mexico City; Prague Biennale 1; "Clandestine", 50th Venice Biennale; "Architectures of Gender", SculptureCenter, New York; "S-AIR Show 2", Intercross Creative Centre, Sapporo; Art Basel, Basel; "Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered - Spatial Emotion in Contemporary Art and Architecture", Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, and CCA "Łaźnia", Gdansk (2003); "In capital letters", Kunsthalle Basel, Basel; Manifesta 4, Frankfurt am Main; "Project 1", 4th Gwangju Bienalle, Gwangju, Korea; "Fair", Royal College of Art, London (2002); Raster Gallery, Warsaw (2001); "Escape", Centre de Solai, Bamako, Mali (2000).

author: Ewa Gorządek from Culture.pl



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