Year created:
Monika Sosnowska, Tower

Monika Sosnowska, Tower, 2014, steel, paint, 131 x 1269 x 263 inches. © Monika Sosnowska, Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Photography by Rick Mansfield of Anchor Imagery.

Click images for larger view

131 x 1269 x 263 inches

Steel, paint
Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Exhibit Date: 
On View May 29, 2015 - Jul 01, 2016

To create Tower, Monika Sosnowska built an exact replica of a portion of the façade of one of the Lake Shore Drive Apartments in Chicago, designed by pioneering modernist architect Mies Van der Rohe. The artist then collapsed and torqued this segment of the steel “curtain wall” into a massive horizontal vortex, creating an entirely new form out of past ideas and materials. The luxurious apartment towers were built in the mid-twentieth century according to Mies’s architectural principles which called for spare, structural clarity and the use of modern industrial materials, like steel and glass. The architect felt his exacting designs expressed pure form free of ideology. The curves of Sosnowska’s sculpture introduce fluidity and malleability to Mies’s rectilinear design, creating dialogue with the legacy of modernist architecture.  While the Lake Shore Drive Apartments once represented a pinnacle of engineering and an American urban lifestyle, the distortions of Tower’s form suggests that such connotations shift with the passage of time and change of context.

Sosnowska’s sculptures often draw attention to architectural forms as embodiments of the histories and ideologies that produced them. Her sensitivity to the built environment and its psychological resonances was honed in the Polish capital of Warsaw, where she has lived since the early 2000s. Here, the legacy of modern Poland, which includes a period of Soviet communist rule and the transition to a capitalist economic system, is recorded within the urban landscape. Soviet-era buildings are juxtaposed with more contemporary additions to the skyline, serving as markers of Warsaw’s past and present ambitions.

Sosnowska was born in Rkyi, Poland in 1972. She has exhibited internationally, including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel; The Modern Institute, Glasgow; Aspen Art Museum, Colorado; and Perez Art Museum, Miami.