Share This Article
June 17–October 30, 2022
The large-scale sculptures of Monika Sosnowska have a familiar yet unexpected aesthetic singularity. Five-meter-tall “T,” a bent T-profile, is leaning against a wall of the Kunstraum Dornbirn. When the bar bends upward, the 900 kilogram profile no longer bears anything other than itself. The middle of a steel pipe with the word “Pipe” and a diameter of 182 centimeters is torn out, resembling the tear in a piece of paper, and rolled up over a length of 10 meters. Circularly intact, laying and standing in space, respectively, are the tube’s beginning and finish. Facade, a folded steel scaffolding that is seven and a half meters high and hanging from the ceiling next to it, lies lightly with one corner on the ground. “Rebar 16,” a collection of steel struts, projects directly from the exhibition hall’s back right wall. They have the appearance of being restrained by gravity, like an overgrown ponytail.
The enormous sculptures project an unsettling lightness that only momentarily withstands the fast, amusing action of manipulating construction materials made in factories. The creation process of the heavyweight pieces leaves a tangible imprint; the tons of materiality balance and dissolve the lightness. By forcingfully manipulating the materials after they have been created, Monika Sosnowska appropriates the properties of the materials by making their intended use ludicrous. The materials used to create the finished pieces are bent and deformed until they get worn out and submit to the new form, which they then unchangeably take on and carry. A dysfunctional allusion to the works’ original intent is inherent, and it can produce a unique aesthetic and poetics.
We get the best contextual shift possible from Sosnowska. She moves deftly between sensuous pleasure and contextual disclosure. The technical, historical, and psychological aspects of her approach of artistic appropriation are on an equal footing with the beauty of her creations. She uses construction elements that, in their temporal durability and styles, either conflict with or preserve the respective present, while also addressing our constructed environment, living space, and social coexistence.
Her creative interpretation of the built world is intricately related to modern historical processes. In “Facade,” Sosnowska incorporates the steel framework of the iconic curtain wall used in post-war modernist buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe, which was once hailed as a symbol of modernity and regarded as high engineering art, into the institutional setting of visual art as an independent design. All of Sosnowska’s works in this new setting demonstrate her approach to building and space on a structural and physical level as well as an emotional, psychological, or historical one. With all the historical, political, psychological, and anthropological markers that have been applied to the architecture over time, buildings are seen as spaces of experience and memory.All four pieces interact with the shabby, unfinished building of the former assembly hall of Kunstraum Dornbirn to create a psychological representation of our past and present.
Monika Sosnowska was born in Ryki, Poland, in 1972; she still resides and works there. The artist saw the powerful societal impacts of her nation’s political system transitioning from communist to democracy. With her piece The Corridor, an intervention at the Arsenale show of the 50th Venice Biennale, she attained global notoriety in 2003. She represented Poland in the 52nd Venice Biennale four years later with the enormous work 1:1.
Kunstraum Dornbirn was founded in 1987 as a non-profit association with the aim of presenting and communicating contemporary art. Since 2003, the exhibitions have found ideal conditions for the showing of large-scale installations in the historic assembly hall of the former Rüsch-Werke, a machine factory. The quality of the architecture in its original, raw state offers space for the presentation of current trends in international art. We show established, internationally renowned artists and newer positions in about three exhibitions every year.