Through her sculptures, installations, and works on paper, Alicja Kwade (b. 1979) investigates the structures of reality and reflects on the perception of time in our lives. Employing a scientific approach to materials and processes, Kwade interrogates the complexities of the physical environment by distorting spatial and temporal perceptions. For example, she frequently utilizes familiar objects—such as rocks, mirrors, glass, lamps, and clocks—in unexpected ways, whether by actually modifying their physical properties or by enacting more perceptual shifts through their contextual relationships. Such interventions draw out the mysteries that underlie tangible observations, radically transforming how the viewer perceives her or his surroundings. In Rain (0.5 hour / 0.5 meter) (2020), Kwade uses tools from two interrelated systems of precipitation measurement to create a composition that alludes to environmental fluctuations, which have become more dramatic in recent years due to climate change. This concept is presented through her arrangement of numerous watch hands and identically cut pieces of a ruler across a sheet of white paper so that they symbolically and visually resemble raindrops. In Principium (2020), she creates a tower out of individual stacked bronze cell phones that suggests both the double-helical structure of DNA, an essential molecule for all living things, as well as revolutionary Constructivist architecture imagined by Vladimir Tatlin nearly one hundred years prior.
Photo: Christian Werner