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The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot

The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot on view from April 16 to October 27, 2019 at The Met Museum

Alicja Kwade (b.1979, Poland). The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot. Installation view, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019. Images Courtesy of the Artist; 303 Gallery, New York; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin/London; and kamel mennour, Paris/London. Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Hyla Skopitz.

The seventh exhibit in a series of site-specific installations, Alicja Kwade’s ParaPivot has been chosen to be displayed at the prestigious Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden of The Metropolitan Museum. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and with additional support from Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky, ParaPivot is made of two distinct structures, ParaPivot I and II. Each one is a sculpture of rectangular powder-coated steel frames nestled within one another at oblique angles, supporting four and five spheres respectively. Every individual stone sphere is carefully detailed and is made of material from a different country, some of which include hermelin from Norway and azul macaubas from Brazil.

Alicja Kwade (b.1979, Poland). The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot. Installation view, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019. Images Courtesy of the Artist; 303 Gallery, New York; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin/London; and kamel mennour, Paris/London. Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Hyla Skopitz.

‘The Met’s Roof Garden Commission is a catalyst for bold artistic intervention and the continuous rethinking of a unique space, so it’s with great anticipation that we unveil Alicja Kwade’s project,’ said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. ‘The setting – perched atop the Museum’s vast collection, with New York City’s iconic skyline and Central Park as the backdrop – presents a compelling site for Kwade, whose works offer an expansive view of the history of art and science,’ he added. Though it is a sculpture, Kwade’s installation appears to be charged with potential, the seemingly unsupported orbs ready to resume their orbit at any given instant. Kwade uses rectangles to produce subtle shifts in our perception, taking known objects out of their usual context. The frames themselves, if seen as frames in the artistic sense, could also potentially raise questions about the role of art in the universe, while also consciously or unconsciously framing the iconic skyline of the city.

Alicja Kwade (b.1979, Poland). The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot. Installation view, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019. Images Courtesy of the Artist; 303 Gallery, New York; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin/London; and kamel mennour, Paris/London. Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Hyla Skopitz.

The perspective shifts that Kwade aims to bring about are not limited to this work however – it is a theme that has repeatedly played a central role in her other works as well. In Against the Run, she installed a clock with the face revolving backwards but displaying the correct time nonetheless. Apart from greatly affecting the sense of scale and the perception of the viewer, Kwade’s installations also raise significant questions about the structures that we take for granted, even though we rely on them every day to bring order to an otherwise disorderly environment. With the geometric and precise nature also bringing to mind images of an astrolabe, ParaPivot is sure to make viewers more aware of the larger world around them, their place in it, and their significance in the random cosmic chaos that is the universe.

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