1972, Ryki, Poland
Monika Sosnowska, best known for her enormous skeletal architectural forms, exploits the engineering gifts of these elements and the imperceptible grace of their designs. Her sculptures of mutilated building elements are not creative approximations of architecture: they are fabricated building elements distorted and reassembled. Sosnowska’s structures crumple like paper, bend and contort to the demands of historical time and the force of an ideological gravity. The artist shows her ability to sublimate the traces of destruction, like an urban archeologist seeking pages of history. Structures of support are malleable and flimsy when removed from their context: ungrounded and unhinged, they become purposeless. Intended to enclose, protect and assist us, they are the most telling when they fail. A broken step doesn’t go unnoticed. But something animates these truncated forms; something ghostly resonates from the cold industrial material. The works are reminiscent of something familiar, something known, but only in memory - or perhaps constructed out of it. Sosnowska explores the shift in viewers' understanding of a work: the moment when reality gives way to another space, psychic or historical.
Monika Sosnowska studied at the University of the Arts Poznan (UAP) in Poland. In 1998 she completed her postgraduate studies at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. In 2003, she was awarded the Baloise Art Prize and Paszport Polityki in visual arts. The artist was shortlisted for the Hugo Boss Prize in 2012 and has participated in artistic residencies at the Atelier Calder in Saché, France (2014) and S-AIR in Sapporo, Japan (2002).
Monika Sosnowska lives and works in Warsaw, Poland.
Recent major solo exhibitions include: Exercises in construction, bending, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2020); Monika Sosnowska, The Modern Institute, Glasgow, United Kingdom (2019); Urban Flowers, Gisela Capitain, Cologne, Germany (2018); Monika Sosnowska, Muzeum Susch, Engadin, Switzerland (2017); Habitat, The Contemporary Austin, United States (2016); Architectonisation, Serralves Foundation – Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal (2015); Monika Sosnowska, Ginza Maison Hermès, Tokyo (2015); Monika Sosnowska, Atelier Calder, Saché, France (2014); Regional Modernities, Australian Center for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne, Australia (2013); Project Gallery: Monika Sosnowska, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), United States (2013); Monika Sosnowska: Fir Tree, commissioned by Public Art Fund for the Doris C. Freedman Plaza at Central Park, New York (2012); The Fire Escape, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2011); The Stairway, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, Israel (2010); Monika Sosnowska, The Modern Institute, Glasgow, Scotland (2008); Projects 83: Monika Sosnowska, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006).
Her work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions, such as: Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2020); Experience Traps, Middelheimmuseum, Antwerp, Belgium (2018); Living Cities, Tate Modern, London (2017); La memoria finalmente. Arte in Polonia: 1989-2016, Galleria Civica di Modena, Italy (2016); Ten Rooms, Three Loggias and a Hall, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2105); Buildering: Misbehaving the City, Blaffer Art Museum, Houston (2013) and Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, United States (2014); El ojo en el tiempo, obras de la Colección Adrastus, Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City (2014); New Sculpture, Zachęta – Narodowa Galeria Sztuki, Warsaw, Poland (2012); Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity, MCA- The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, United States (2012); elles@centrepompidou, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010); STAY FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER, South London Gallery (2007), among others.
Sosnowska represented Poland at the 52th Venice Biennial in 2007; and has also participated in biennials such as: Glasgow International 2016 and 2018, Scotland; 2017 Canadian Biennial; Sharjah Biennial 13, Tamawuj, United Arab Emirates (2017); 9th Shanghai Biennale, China (2012), and 54th Venice Biennial (2011).