Espoo Museum of Modern Art

Monika Sosnowska’s large-scale sculptures at EMMA surprise the viewer with their apparent lightness

Monika Sosnowska: An Order Apart © Paula Virta / EMMA
Monika Sosnowska: An Order Apart © Paula Virta / EMMA

Polish sculptor Monika Sosnowska’s exhibition of sculptures at EMMA invites the viewer to reconsider our conception of space and the meaning of structures. Presented in EMMA’s Areena exhibition space dedicated to new and experimental art, An Order Apart will be on show from 6 March to 15 December 2024.

Monika Sosnowska (b. 1972) is known for her architectonic sculptures that endow space with new meanings. What especially interests here is the impact that architecture and space have on people, and the difficulty of changing existing structures. Using identifiable materials such as steel beams, concrete and reinforcing bars, she creates something completely new by modifying and distorting their original properties and functions. 

Created specifically for EMMA, An Order Apart consists of six large-scale sculptures by Sosnowska which engage with the concrete brutalist elements of the WeeGee building. The installation conveys at once a sense of familiarity and strangeness as well as heaviness and lightness. Made from heavy materials, the sculptures surprise the viewer with their apparent, even humorous lightness. 

Monika Sosnowska: An Order Apart © Paula Virta / EMMA

“The artist was immediately inspired by the stark, industrial architecture of the building designed by Aarno Ruusuvuori. Characteristically, her works offer a new perspective for viewing the space around them. In the centre of the exhibition is a ten-metre-long metal sculpture, Pipe. Its form brings to mind a giant roll of paper, and in EMMA it establishes a special link with the history of the exhibition centre as a printing house,” says Pernilla Wiik, curator of the exhibition. “It is also wonderful to have one of the artist’s most distinctive works, Handrail from 2016, adapted to the exhibition space at EMMA.” 

Monika Sosnowska is an internationally acclaimed artist who has exhibited in numerous prestigious venues, including MoMA in New York, Serpentine Gallery in London, and the 50th and 52nd Venice Biennales. The artist’s interest in altering meanings and materials as well as her interest in modernism originates from her youth in Poland during the turn of the 1980s and 1990s. At that time, the country’s political system changed from people’s republic to democracy, and this had a far-reaching impact on society as well as the environment. Sosnowska’s works comment, among other things, on the significance of the buildings from the socialist era and on people’s relationship to them. 

The sculptural idiom of the artworks in An Order Apart shows influences from modernist movements such as constructivism, minimalism, and conceptual art, that are characteristic to the artist’s work. The exhibition opens simultaneously with the Experiments in Concretism collection exhibition, which explores the diversity of concrete art. The exhibitions are installed in adjacent spaces at EMMA, engaging in an intriguing dialogue with one another. 

This exhibition is produced in collaboration with the artist’s representatives Hauser & Wirth and the Foksal Gallery Foundation. 

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