Capitain Petzel

Monika Sosnowska

15 Mar - 17 Apr 2014

Installation view: Monika Sosnowska,
 "Stairway", March 15 - April 17, 2014, Photo: Jens Ziehe
15 March - 17 April 2014

Capitain Petzel is pleased to present the second solo exhibition by Monika Sosnowska. The Warsaw-based artist shows the major installation “Stairway“, (2010). In an irregular serpentine shape the work is precisely suspended between ceiling and floor in the main hall of the translucent gallery space. Sosnowska conceived the work for the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Herzliya, Israel, in 2010 and adjusted it for the consecutive presentations at the Zachęta Galerie in Warsaw, Poland, (2012), the Shanghai Biennal, (2012-13) and Capitain Petzel, Berlin (2014).

Monika Sosnowska was inspired by an emergency staircase, built in 1971 at ‘The Museum of History of Tel Aviv’, which she discovered during a residency in Israel in 2008. She documented the stairwell with a photograph, just before its deconstruction. This image creates the point of departure for her own fabricated interpretetation of the found architectural object by removing it from its original functionality through dismantling, twisting and squeezing the main elements. By changing the stairway’s direction Sosnowska challenges our perception. She captures the site, abstracts and freezes the space and creates an optical illusion leading our gaze upwards the spiral.

Important conceptual points of reference for Sosnowska are different movements and phenomena like modernist architecture primarily found in Eastern European countries, Conceptual Polish constructivism of the 1930s and Minimalism from the 1960s and 1970s. The collapsed state of the installation can be read as a response against the blind faith for once glorified ideologies of political totalitarian regimes. This disruption can also be found in Derrida’s concept of the Tower of Babel: “The ‘Tower of Babel’ does not merely figure the irreducible multiplicity of tongues; it exhibits an incompletion, the impossibility of finishing, of totalizing, of saturating, of completing something on the order of edification, architectural construction, system and architectonics.”*

Monika Sosnowska was born in Poland in 1972 and lives and works in Warsaw. After studying at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam and the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan she had several solo exhibitions, for example at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2004), Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006), at the 52nd Venice Biennial representing Poland in the Polish Pavillion (2007), at the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz (2007), Schaulager, Basel (2008), Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel (2010), the K21, Dusseldorf (2010-2012), Aspen Art Museum (2013) and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2013).

* Reprinted from Jaques Derrida, “Des Tours de Babel”, translated by Joseph F. Graham, in Difference and Repetition, Copyright 1985, Cornell University Press, p. 218.

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