Monika Sosnowska

Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn / Austria

June 17–October 30, 2022
July 26, 2022
Kunstraum Dornbirn
Jahngasse 9
6850 Dornbirn

T +43 5572 55044
[email protected]

Monika Sosnowska’s expansive sculptural works seem familiar and yet strange in their aesthetic uniqueness. “T”, a bent T-profile of five meters height, leans against a wall of Kunstraum Dornbirn. The bar curves up at the bend, the profile with its 900 kilograms no longer carries anything but itself. A steel tube named “Pipe” with a diameter of 182 centimetres is torn through the middle, reminiscent of the tear in a sheet of paper, and rolled up over a length of 10 metres. The beginning and end of the tube are circularly intact, lying and standing in space. Next to it hangs from the ceiling “Facade”, a seven and a half-meter-high folded steel scaffolding that rests lightly with one corner on the floor. A bundle of steel struts called “Rebar 16” protrudes directly from the back right wall of the exhibition hall. As if bridled by gravity, they resemble a kind of oversized ponytail.

The massive sculptures convey a disconcerting lightness that withstands only briefly the quick, humorous gesture of manipulating industrially produced construction elements. The heavyweight works are palpably inscribed by their production process; the lightness is counteracted and dissolved by the tons of materiality. Monika Sosnowska appropriates the characteristics of the materials by taking their function to absurdity through forceful manipulation after they have been produced. The finished parts are bent and warped until the material is fatigued and yields to the new form, which it then unalterably assumes and bears. Intrinsic in the works is a dysfunctional reference to their original purpose, capable of generating a special aesthetic and poetics.

Sosnowska provides us with a contextual shift par excellence. Skilfully, she oscillates between contextual disclosure and sensual experience. The beauty of her works stands on equal footing with the technical, historical and psychological components of her strategy of artistic appropriation. She includes us collectively and individually, thematising our built environment, our living space and social co-existence through the use of building elements which, in their temporal permanence and fashions, conflict with or sustain the respective present.

Her artistic view of the built environment is closely linked to contemporary historical developments. In “Facade”, Sosnowska transfers the steel framework of the iconic curtain wall of post-war modernism, once celebrated as a sign of modernity in Mies van der Rohe’s buildings and appreciated as high engineering art, into the institutional space of visual art as an independent design. In this new location, all Sosnowska’s works reveal her approach to space and architecture not only on a structural and physical level, but also on an emotional, psychological or historical one. Buildings are understood as places of experience, places of memory, with all the historical, political, psychological and anthropological markings that have been inflicted on the architecture over time. The interplay of all four works with the rough, untreated architecture of the former assembly hall of Kunstraum Dornbirn results in a psychosocial image of our history and present.

Monika Sosnowska was born in 1972 in Ryki, Poland, she lives and works in Warsaw. The artist experienced the change of her country’s political system from communism to democracy and its potent social effects. In 2003, she gained international recognition with her work The Corridor, an intervention at the Arsenale exhibition of the 50th Venice Biennale. Four years later, she represented Poland at the 52nd Venice Biennale with the monumental installation 1:1.

For more information visit here. A catalogue will be published in September 2022 to accompany the exhibition.

Kunstraum Dornbirn
Kunstraum Dornbirn was founded in 1987 as a non-profit association with the aim of presenting and communicating contemporary art. Since 2003, the exhibitions have found ideal conditions for the showing of large-scale installations in the historic assembly hall of the former Rüsch-Werke, a machine factory. The quality of the architecture in its original, raw state offers space for the presentation of current trends in international art. We show established, internationally renowned artists and newer positions in about three exhibitions every year.

Press contact
Sina Wagner, sina.wagner [​at​]