The three unique works by Monika Sosnowska (b. 1972, Ryki, Poland) on view in the Grand Hall were recently acquired for the Mudam Collection. These monumental sculptures, composed of painted concrete and steel, occupy the space as abstract compositions. The use of raw materials traditionally found withinthe construction industry – beams, rods, reinforcements or pipes, for example – is characteristic of the artist’s work. Here they are manipulated, contorted and warped to achieve new forms liberated from their original design function. The vocabulary of architecture is a direct source of inspiration for Sosnowska, who is sensitive to the symbolic, political and ideological weight of certain buildings. Architecture gives form to ideals: utopias that have succeeded and failed. Sosnowska is particularly interested in the modernist currents of the twentieth century, not only in the West (as in Soviet-era Eastern European architecture) but in Asia as well.
In Dhaka, during one of the artist’s various trips to Bangladesh, she discovered Muzharul Islam (b. 1923, Murshidabad, India – d. 2012, Dhaka), an architect, urban planner and political figure. Through this encounter she witnessed the ways in which modernist principles had been transposed in a different cultural and economic context. She also observed local construction methods and techniques: workers along the riverbanks extracting, by hand, rocks to turn into gravel and then concrete, destined for buildings that were either being built or abandoned halfway through construction, bristling with metal beams. These sculptures derive directly from Sosnowska’s observations of this terrain. The titles describe the materials they contain: ‘rebar’ refers to the metal rods used to reinforce ‘concrete’, like the ones that anarchically jut out from incomplete constructions in Dhaka. Here, they seem to have found their independence to draw freewheeling forms in space, breaking with the geometric rationality associated with modernist architecture.