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"Measuring Stick"Sarah Sze

April 1, 2016

Sarah Sze discusses her sculpture Measuring Stick (2015), which explores the “measurement of time and space through the moving image.” Sze remembers watching Charles and Ray Eames’s Powers of Ten as a young student in the 1970s, and cites the film as an inspiration for her work.

“That was something I always looked forward to seeing.” Sze’s sculpture originally began as a film but evolved into a three-dimensional work that resembles an editing desk, reflecting the moving image through the inclusion of flickering light, and references to “scientist image-makers.”

Sze describes the diaphanous sculpture as an “experimental site” that “tries to actually measure a kind of behavior.”

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.

Art21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

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 make a work that was about the measurement of time and space through the moving image. Everything in it is actually very much about some kind of measuring stick for how we orient ourselves in time and space.”

Sarah Sze


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