Monika Sosnowska’s work is informed by the architectural landscape of Warsaw. While walking around the city, she photographs the housing blocks, service pavilions, train stations and shopping centres that tangibly reflect the country’s communist past. Exploring the imposition of rational or centralised planning on space, Sosnowska manipulates the form of the structures she depicts. Deprived of their original function, her buildings begin to take on the characteristics of a particular mental space as they are forced to bend, collapse, invert and distort. The resulting configurations not only draw attention to the relationship between the built environment and personal perception, but also encourage reflection on the impact of societal structures on lived reality.
Questions of renovation, revision, heritage and destruction are addressed in Façade (2013), a seven-metre-long steel structure that resembles a maquette of a modernist building. The collapsed edifice appears to drape from the ceiling, recalling a soft fabric rather than a rigid architectural structure. The drooping form provokes consideration of Sosnowska’s artistic process. She starts by soaking a paper model; once dried, she recreates the shape in steel, collaborating intensely with engineers, welders and other technicians to achieve the desired resemblance to the original. The resulting sculpture reflects the remaking of architectural elements and delineates the collective and virtually alchemical transformations from one material to another.
This project was part of Sharjah Biennial 13.
Courtesy of the Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow and the artist