Before, During and ‘Afterimage’ – a review of Sarah Sze exhibition at Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

Sarah Sze, Afterimage review Victoria Miro London, Stuart Bush Studio Blog
Sarah SzeAfterimage, Yellow Blow Out (Painting in its Archive), 2018Oil paint, acrylic paint, archival paper, UV stabilizers, adhesive, tape, ink and acrylic polymers, shellac, water-based primer on wood© Sarah SzeCourtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice
Sarah Sze is well known for her sculptures of large-scale installations. When l walked into the exhibition I was immediately meet by the flood of ideas. Sarah stimulating installations take the detritus from the frame, and her work appears to explode as if trying to escape.  She instinctively relies on her painter’s instincts, as ‘Afterimage’ takes a closer look at the artist’s working practices as she looks at the relationships between objects in space and the contradictions between them.
 
Sarah Sze international art career started in the 1990s. In 2003 she won the won the MacArthur Fellowship. In 2013 she represented the USA at the at the Venice Biennale. She has exhibitions in many countries and her work is in many museum collections around the world.
Sarah Sze, Afterimage exhibtition, Victoria Miro London, Stuart Bush Studio blog
Installation view, Sarah Sze: AfterimageVictoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW© Sarah SzeCourtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice
The exhibition starts with her two-dimension work. These images are laid out like a collage on the wall. Everyday items from roughly torn images, photographs, string, sketches and more overlap. They are taped and stuck together as they continue to generate new thoughts and ideas.  They gradually accumulate to turn the collage into part of the canvas.  The paintings start with no definite beginning or end.  They form a vast assemblage of content allowing thoughts to take off in many different directions at the same time. 
 
One of the most intriguing parts of the exhibition for me is the presence of time and space. I realised the artist must have added to her works while in the room. This is engaging and stimulating.  I felt like I was able to explore Sarah’s train of thought before, during and after the work was created.  Sarah is communicating and documenting how we live in the present moment, how we are meant to focus on the present, but our thoughts are often elsewhere.
Sarah Sze exhibition review, Victoria Miro, London, Stuart Bush Studio Blog
Sarah SzeImages in Debris, 2018 Installation view, Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW© Sarah Sze Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice
I found the contradictions in Sarah’s work absorbing. Not only do they show how time continues forward and backwards with videos, plants growing and decaying but also the presence and absence of form in the construction.  As I interrupted the video projectors on the walls, I saw myself in the mirror and my silhouette appeared on the wall.  However, Sarah is not interested in the objects themselves; her interest lies in the relationship between elements and what they say about us. She is showing us evidence, evidence of humanity’s impact.  Giving an overall feeling of a laboratory where you are the witness. It reminds me of what Picasso once said, “Art is the lie that reveals the truth.”
 
In Sarah’s artwork, the individual objects have no value. However, Sarah creates value in the way the collage, painting and sculpture come together and the way the items are treated and placed. The physical relationship to the objects is familiar but this intimate experience of development and demise, in time and space, is encouraging us to reconsider everything again.
Sarah Sze Afterimage exhibition review, Victoria Miro, London, StuartBushStudioBlog
Sarah Sze Images in Debris, 2018 (detail) © Sarah Sze Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice
I found the exhibition very revealing about Sarah’s working practices. The exhibition asks questions about what we experienced before we arrived, what have experienced during the show and how this will change what we will see after we leave. The show left me thinking about the human race as a species and what evidence we are really leaving behind. I thoroughly recommend a trip to Victoria Miro to take a look.

External links to the Sarah Sze ‘Afterimage’ exhibition;

 

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