Resting atop the third and final floor of Victoria Miro is part of Sarah Sze’s latest exhibition, comprising of a range of colourful and eclectic sculptural installations. Following the seemingly never ending staircase of pious nature – heavenly white light bursting from its final step – Sze’s work has a powerful impact upon first view at the entrance of the space.
Great boulders and rocks scatter the gallery’s polished floor, untidy and unquiet. These geological formations are accompanied by a colourful spectrum of wall hung photographic prints, which imitate the rock pattern captured in Sze’s sporadic stone installation. Implementing a sense of curiosity, viewers find themselves navigating between Stone Series (2013 – 2015), weaving in and out of the earthy installations. Upon closer look, the surface of theses boulders appear blurred and pixelated, revealing the works playful performance as manmade (artistmade) rocks. From a far the texture and colouring of each work encourages us to view it as naturalistic – the outside world brought into the gallery space – whereas in reality, the pasted and glued prints reveal a foreign, unknown object, entirely removed from our understanding of a real and functional grounding.
Within the main gallery spaces of Victoria Miro, Sze continues to toy with her audience. She brings an office desk space into the centre of the gallery, using it as a basis for strewn workplace objects. Crumpled rubbish, spread out newspapers and small pot plants expose themselves between the interlocking, metal grid taking the place of a desk. Still Life with Desk (2013 – 2015) questions the boundaries between our place of work and its functionality, and investigates how we work both physically and mentally.
Finally in the loft-like roof space of Victoria Miro is Sze’s final installation at the gallery’s Wharf Road location. Calendar Series (2013 – 2015) sees silk screen prints acting as selected newspaper spreads, reaching across the rough, cold floor, dimly lit by standard office lamps. According to the artist, this work comes as a reflection on time passing, and explores how society depicts transitory events. By replacing the newspapers headline images with her own choice of naturalistic landscapes, Sze is encouraging a struggle in viewers to place both time and situation. Each display in this work presents itself like a miniature colony, floating independently with some connected by tangled wires, all spotlighting individual subjects of clay figures or dandelion-growing jackets.
Opening as her first exhibition in Europe since representing the United States in the 2013 Venice Biennale, Sarah Sze’s exhibition is an entanglement of wonder and theory. Her installations are both visually pleasing and intellectually stirring, a must-see show before it closes on 28 March 2015. Victoria Miro is open Tuesday to Saturday – 10am to 6pm, with Old Street and Angel as its nearest underground stations.