© Sarah SZE

The Art of Losing

ArtistSarah SZE
Material/ Techniquemixed media
Size/ DurationH1100×W640×D675cm
Copyright Notice© Sarah SZE
Year of acquisition/ donation2004
DescriptionBorn in Boston, USA in 1969. Lives and works in New York.

After she graduated from School of Visual Arts in New York in 1997, Sarah Sze has produced works showing her keen awareness of space where her works are placed. Her installations, in which she compiles and arranges mass-produced, faceless and cheap articles such as cotton buds, toothpicks, tissues, woolen yarns, plastic containers, tape measures, clips, or ladders, appear orderly and disorderly at the same time. They create a world with an exquisite balance and a tense atmosphere. In addition, the currents of air caused a fan and the light of an electric lamp equipped in her work make it look as if it were a living organism that has energy to invade space and multiply autonomously. Thus, Sze breathes life into ordinary everyday articles to discover new stories.

Created to fit in the stairwell near the west entrance to the museum, "The Art of Losing" can be approached from several different directions. Inspired by the construction of the stairs, which double back as they connect the ground floor and the basement level, the artist has created the work in such a way that its appearance changes as if following the movements of the visitors as they ascend and descend. The way the spiral-like structure hangs in midair also expresses this ascending/descending motion, producing a state of tension between the structure and gravity. At the same time, the mainly white structure gives the work a certain lightness and brightness. The work incorporates familiar, mass-produced tools and other objects such as cotton buds, PET bottles and other plastic containers, woollen yarn, tape measures, and clips, and colors that call to mind tools and construction sites such as yellow, green, and orange, all combined in a way that gives a certain sense of order. As a result, the intricately arranged installation achieves an exquisite balance while dispensing with centrality and dispersing/expanding the state of tension in various different directions. As well, the plants lend the entire work a feeling of vitality, while the wind from the electric fans and the light emitted by the lamps call to mind energy and represent an attempt to portray processes of nature at work in the architectural structure.