Sarah Sze

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Sarah Sze
© Sarah Sze
Sarah Sze, Model for a Diviner (detail) 2012

I'm not sure whether it's a benefit or a bother for Sarah Sze that her new installations are showing at Victoria Miro concurrently with Grayson Perry's TV tie-in tapestries inspired by 'A Rake's Progress', but on my visit there was a constant stream of biddies walking straight through her work to get to Perry's. Hopefully they spent time with Sze on the way back, as the New Yorker's artfully arranged, sprawling sculptural installations are every bit as rewarding. Constructed from small objects crafted in paper, clay and multiples of everyday items – toothpicks, paper clips and Pringles tubes, painted twigs, nuts and nails – they sit somewhere between sculpture, architecture and Heath Robinson experiment.

Sze first gained attention in the late 1990s when her use of humble and utilitarian materials was at odds with the prevailing brash and shiny aesthetic of Jeff Koons et al, yet her pieces now chime with the times. So much so, in fact, that Sze has been chosen to represent the USA at next year's Venice Biennale.

Five separate works are all titled 'Model for a...': Model for a Print, Diviner, Twin, Weather Vane or Left Foot, but the combined impression they create is of an interweaving cosmology encompassing notions of sustainability, survival and connectedness. Sze refers, perhaps ironically, perhaps fondly, to her own artistic endeavour with the incorporation of paintbrushes, charcoal and strips of dry acrylic paint, hung like ribbons.

In the larger more theatrical installation upstairs, 'Pendulum', objects are arranged in a circle and also descending in scale, like a raked theatre or amphitheatre. Here the mood is more meditative but also darker, not just literally, due to the low lighting, but because of the pendulum of the work's title, hung low from the ceiling and swinging backwards and forwards, marking time towards an unknown end.


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