Sara Sze @ the United States Pavilion, Venice Biennial 2013Posted: May 29, 2013
If the Futurelab was to give its own Biennale awards, Sarah Sze would have been one of the winners.
This year’s US artist painstakingly transformed their Pavilion with a myriad of tiny objects, suspended from tiny strings, wire, wood, and plastic. There is a real feeling of being inside of another universe where Sze is the benevolent ruler.
Setting the tone for the exhibit, suspended precariously above the entrance to the US Pavilion are several enormous boulders that are situated on narrow boards, held down by only a few straps. One would be forgive for being afraid to come closer. Upon reaching the entrance, the viewer is greeted by another large rock placed safely on the ground, and it becomes obvious that the boulders are not rocks at all, but mere paper imposters. The surfaces are digital paper prints of rock texture pasted over a lightweight structures. And here begins the experience with Sarah Sze’s outstanding performance at this year’s Venice Biennale.
Although Sarah Sze and the US did not win the Golden Lion this year, the Biennale’s top prize, her performance has been well-received.
This year’s prize went to Angola, with an equally stellar performance, with its much more subtle installation at the Palazzo Cini,conceived in 1984 as a house-museum, after a collection of Tuscan masterworks were donated by Princess Yana Cini Alliata de Montereale.)
The theme of the Biennale this year is Encyclopedic, and this is necessary to know when engaging Sze’s installations. One the one hand, there is an encyclopedic cataloging of her own personal objects(tea bags, granola bars, tools, and coffee cups), and on the other hand, obsessive micro representations of the marco (entire galaxies of things orbiting around precarious sun-like shapes. All the elements of our universe and all the elements of human life and death represented by the most unexpected and simplest of things makes for a truly eye-opening art experience.