(bodies without organs) Infinite Line

Finally went to see the exhibition Infinite Line by Sarah Sze (pronounced Zee) at the Asia Society. I’m having trouble downloading images, but I recommend the ones posted online at http://sites.asiasociety.org/sarahsze/works-by-the-artist/. What I like in this body of work is how the prints and sculptural works hold an assemblage together with no subordination of a work to a single center. It’s unclear how they hold together, these floating, folding spaces.

The closer you look, the more and more objects and acts you begin to notice (sinks, toilets, counters, cars, ladders, the Roman Coliseum, kitty litters and people running, sitting, having sex, reading, walking). In the sculptural work you see seemingly random objects, connected in most of the works by blue threads which connect wraps around and connects objects. Is the blue thread a line of thought?

In an interview included in the catalogue for the show, Sze argues that this is precisely not the way to look into her work. She understands that many people who come to see her work will in fact orient themselves by cataloguing the objects in any given piece. We find comfort and pleasure in the ability to isolate and catalogue individual objects and acts, while the main thing, according to Sze,  is to see what I’d call the non-whole of the assemblage and the conversations between objects. A new sense of the whole forms from within the organizing lines of that non-whole that constitutes (de-constitutes?) the work.

I love the natural and technological media out of which these works are made. These include Guggenheim as a Ruin (2009) (ink, string, collage on paper), Notepad  (2008) (offset lithograph, laser engraved paper), Checks and Balances (2011) (stone, string, and ink on archival paper), First Scroll Drawing (1997), a group of Untitled and a scuplutral series entitled Random Walk Drawing (2011) (mixed media).

With the attention to natural materials and technological media, I don’t see this as all that foreign to (Babylonian) Talmud. On this, I’m with New York Times art critic Karen Rosenberg, who calls Sze “an an architect of ancient traditions” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/arts/design/sarah-sze-infinite-line-at-asia-society-review.html?_r=1).

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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1 Response to (bodies without organs) Infinite Line

  1. Gail says:

    This is awesome. I need to email this link to Ludger!

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