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Monika Sosnowska's 110-Foot-Long TOWER

A singular large-scale sculpture inspired by the architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

by David Graver
on 05 September 2014

Within the vast exhibition space found at Hauser & Wirth's Chelsea location, a single piece forcefully occupies the floor: "Tower." Crafted from steel and painted a powerful black, the imposing sculpture delivers an architectural, skeletal sensory assault as it lays stretched across the ground. The artist behind the work, Monika Sosnowska, drew inspiration from the masterful works of German architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—specifically, his iconic I-beam clad "Glass House" apartment buildings built along Chicago's Lake Shore Drive.


"Tower" takes a step away from rational geometry. Instead, it curves and abstracts—at times entirely disfigured. There's an element of recognition as if a toppled monument. And yet, the thought behind it stands transparent. Sosnowska actually begins her process on a very small scale, often with drawings that explore structure. All 110 feet of "Tower" were constructed as one whole piece, before being cut into over 50 parts for transport. Mies van der Rohe's influence and his International Style trope do resonate from the work, but Sosnowska's signature and her growing reputation for tackling architectural motifs hold true.


According to Marc Payot, a partner at Hauser & Wirth, the gallery quickly recognized the value in something large-scale after Sosnowska proposed the idea. And, as a result, the piece is larger than any work they've done together before. "When we started discussion about this show," Payot shares, "Monika came up with this idea and we agreed it would make for a fantastic piece. Within her work, there's a continued pushing of practice." Sosnowska built the piece specifically for the space. Payot personally describes his reaction to it—each time he sees it—as shifting. "It's between architecture, an animal and an airplane. It's beautiful, aggressive and poetic. It's everything all in one," he concludes. While it rests in a very large space, this one sculpture manages to command attention: from its tremendous visual scope to all the tiny details within.

"Tower" will be on show today, 5 September, through 25 October 2014 at Hauser & Wirth's downtown NYC location, 511 West 18th Street.

Images by Cool Hunting

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