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Venice Biennale: U.S.A.

Leonie Bradbury
Individual subjective identity is at play in the work of Sarah Sze in the American Pavilion.  In the untitled piece in the first room, Sze has constructed a subjective reality, a “second nature” of the world, a Hegelian return to self.  Her carefully constructed world includes a structural framework of the globe, panoramic horizon views, stalks of wheat and trees, wind and river elements, and tissue-like clouds above, a celestial ceiling.  Sze’s work reflects Hegel’s sense of the artist “lift(ing) the inner and outer world into his spiritual consciousness as an object in which he recognizes again his own self.”

Throughout the pavilions we recognize in the works a discovery and examination of self-identity through reflection and reworking of the past. It may be through reference to the external physical world (eco-systems, pollution, and other human impacts) or comment on aspects of society, ancestry, family, and community.