Winner Baloise Art Prize 2003.
In these small-format drawings on paper by Polish artist Monika Sosnowska, which look a lot like architectural sketches albeit without communicating any directional orientation or sense of scale, rigorously geometric, three-dimensional components are formed solely by means of outlines. Some lines are considerably thicker than others, introducing rhythm into the pictorial compositions. Atmospheric crosshatching and narrative details have no place here. Sosnowska’s direct, uncontrived artistic approach has a certain affinity with the Minimal art of the 1960s and 1970s—her parents’ generation of artists—which had a major influence on her work. One such artist is Sol LeWitt in the United States, who is also represented in the Baloise collection with a series of drawings, Incomplete Open Cube. He, too, “conjugates” a basic geometric figure, running through different combinations in a distinctly mathematical manner. However, unlike the modernist currents of Polish Constructivism in the 1930s, or Bauhaus design, or Minimal and Conceptual art in the 1960s, for all their geometric rigor, clarity, and sobriety Sosnowska’s spatial forms appear strangely mysterious and inaccessible.
Sosnowska, who studied at the Art Academy in Poznan and at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam, is primarily a sculptor: she thinks spatially. Her drawings already convey a sense of what she does in three dimensions, namely the labyrinths she builds from familiar, clearly structured spatial units. She creates bewildering 3-dimensional constructions in which corporeal, as well as mental and emotional sensations and experiences unfold. Her installations, intended for visitors to enter, challenge our sense of orientation. They instigate a dizzying game with architecture, the most stable of all the arts. Inside one of Sosnowska’s interlocking labyrinths, as we progress from one windowless room to the next, we feel trapped and claustrophobically coerced. Above all we are confronted by ourselves and our anxieties, our anger, our impatience. Sosnowska’s architectural structures take the sobriety and aloofness of a modernist vocabulary of forms to such an extreme that they seem to develop a psychological, emotional potential. And that is exactly what she is aiming for.
Further works by Monika Sosnowska in the Baloise art collection:
Inv. No. 0916–0919, Untitled, 2003, Pencil on paper, 18 x 25.7 cm