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How We See the WorldSarah Sze

March 25, 2016

Sarah Sze expresses her desire to have a tactile relationship with materials in a world saturated with digital imagery. In describing today’s visual culture, Sze says, “You don’t know the authorship of an image when it gets to you, you can manipulate it and you can send it—it’s a kind of images as debris.”

For her 2015 exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Sze amplified and countered this contemporary experience through her installation Second Studio. By arranging paint skins, torn paper images, and other materials such as wood, thread, and rocks, Sze explored our fragmented relationship to illusionistic images by focusing our attention on each object’s materiality. “We have so much illusion but we don’t have touch and we don’t have taste and we don’t have smell—we don’t have that intimacy with images.”

More information and credits


Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster. Editor: Morgan Riles. Camera: John Marton & Andrew Whitlatch. Sound: Ian Forster. Artwork Courtesy: Sarah Sze & Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. Special Thanks: Mike Barnett & Lissa McClure.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze builds her installations and intricate sculptures from the minutiae of everyday life, imbuing mundane materials, marks, and processes with surprising significance. By arranging domestic detritus and office supplies into fantastical miniatures, she builds her works, fractal-like, on an architectural scale. Whether adapting to a site or disrupting the urban fabric, Sze’s patchwork compositions mirror the improvisational quality of cities, balancing whimsy with ecological themes of interconnectivity and sustainability.

“I wanted to pull out everything that was nameable in my work and have people look at fragments of both paint and images coming together—filtering together—and then falling apart.”

Sarah Sze


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Sarah Sze