Review: "Sarah Sze: Triple Point"

"Triple Point (Pendulum)" by Sarah Sze
"Triple Point (Pendulum)," 2013. Photo courtesy of the Sarah Sze and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

At the center of a mysterious laboratory, a pendulum swings. Piles of salt, ceramic shards, and potted cacti radiate outward in ascending size. What mad scientist has, moments ago, fled the building? What laws of heaven and earth has he deduced?

Behold the curious, immersive world designed by artist and Columbia visual-arts professor Sarah Sze for the 2013 Venice Biennale. Inspired in part by Venice’s contributions to Renaissance science, Sze appropriates familiar scientific tools — pinned specimens, gauges, task lamps — to tease the viewer with the prospect that these inscrutably ordered objects will tell a story, if only one stares long enough.

The exhibition catalog, Sarah Sze: Triple Point, gives readers a photographic tour of the multi-room installation, capped by an illuminating dialogue between Sze and the Pulitzer Prize– winning author Jennifer Egan, who find common ground in the art of disorientation.