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Porto: Sosnowska

February 20, 2015 - May 31, 2015


Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art


Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art presents a major survey of the sculptural works of Monika Sosnowska. This is the first exhibition in Portugal devoted to the artist’s work and reflects the Museum’s commitment to artists whose work can respond to the unique context of Serralves.

Born in 1972 in Poland and based in Warsaw, Sosnowska has consistently looked to the language of architecture as an expressive form. Since her first major public showing in the 50th Venice Biennial in 2003 curated by Francesco Bonami, Sosnowska has continued to challenge the possibilities of sculpture as something inherently made rather than produced. That her recent sculptures have been compared with the work of Richard Serra and Vladimir Tatlin speaks to the physical ambition of many of works. Labyrinthine spaces that evoke institutional containment, twisted and compressed shells of standard steel-frame structures from buildings, and once functional furniture bent into burlesque distress allude to communities and histories, and the bodies and ideals that sustained them.

‘Architectonisation’ has been conceived in dialogue with the architecture of the Serralves Museum designed by Álvaro Siza. Presented over seven of its largest galleries, the Museum atrium and the exterior Pátio da Adelina in a progression of installations and objects made between 2003 until the present, the exhibition reveals in breathtaking form, the elaboration of an artist who thinks sculpture. Among the works included are early corridor and pavilion structures that create alternative spatial routes that rely on the viewer’s movement through them, free-standing sculptures and sculptural interventions that allude to collapse and the fragment, and large-scale wrought iron works composed of structural elements for buildings on a scale of one to one, that are melded into suspended, draped and shifting forms in space to monumental effect. Smaller-scaled spatial propositions, both abstract and functional, reveal Sosnowska’s attention to the details of materials and forms as both investigative and deeply human.

A fully illustrated, bilingual catalogue in Portuguese and English is being published to accompany the exhibition. It will include new essays by Gabriela Witek, Professor at the Art History Institute, Warsaw University, focusing on the reference to Eastern European modernism in Sosnowska’s work, and by the exhibition’s curator, Suzanne Cotter situating Sosnowska’s sculpture within a history of contemporary practices in the 20th and 21st centuries. The publication will feature installation views of the exhibition at Serralves and a photo essay by the artist relating to her materials research for the exhibition in Porto.

A public program including the artist in conversation and a series of performances within the spaces of the galleries is being developed for the exhibition and will be announced in January 2015.

‘Monika Sosnowska: Architectonisation’ is curated by Suzanne Cotter, Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.


Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Rua D. João de Castro, 210
Porto, 4150-417 Portugal
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