High across the skyline of Fifth Avenue, Central Park West and 59th Street stands Alicja Wade’s vast steel sculptures, the latest commission by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for their Iris and B.Gerald Cantor roof garden. Called ‘ParaPivot I’ and ‘ParaPivot II’, these staggering frames of powder-coated black steel are a minimalist take on the solar system. Born in Poland in 1979, Berlin-based artist Wade uses a wide range of media to create artworks that question our relationship with time, perception and science. Through her sculptures and installations, Wade seeks to make sense of the universe and in turn, forces the viewer to self-reflect.
Each sculpture consists of rectangular frames, soldered together and placed with spheres of coloured marble that appear to suspend in mid-air. Sculpted from quarried marble sourced from Europe, Asia and South America, each sphere weighs up to a ton, which poses the question of logistics as they appear almost weightless within the frames. These optical tricks are not new to Wade who frequently plays with suspension in her work. This skilful positioning and ‘illusion’ forces us to examine the instability and unknowability of our place in the world.
Standing independently in the centre of the roof garden, visitors can get up close and personal, allowing movement between each sculpture and thus dominating the viewer and the landscape it occupies. This installation forces us to question our place in the universe, reducing us to mere mortals in the vast and intimidating presence of the solar system.
Until October 27th 2019 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan; 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org.