Visual artist Sarah Sze and her husband, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee, discuss the creative process with Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai. The discussion is held in conjunction with the exhibition "Sarah Sze: Infinite Line", on view at Asia Society Museum."
Vishakha N. Desai
Vishakha Desai is president and CEO of Asia Society, a leading global organization committed to strengthening partnerships among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the US. Desai sets the direction for the society’s diverse sets of programs, ranging from major US–Asia policy initiatives and national educational partnerships for global learning to groundbreaking art exhibitions and innovative Asian American performances. She has an international reputation for introducing contemporary Asian art in the US through critically acclaimed exhibitions and scholarly catalogues. Under her leadership, Asia Society has expanded the scope and scale of its activities, including opening new offices in India and Korea, the inauguration of a new center on US-China relations, and the development of new initiatives focusing on the environment, on Asian women leaders, and on partnerships among the next generation of exceptional leaders in Asia and the US.
Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher. His book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at ColumbiaUniversity and a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Center. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from StanfordUniversity, University of Oxford, HarvardMedicalSchool. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and The New Republic. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Sze graduated Summa Cum Laude from Yale University in 1991. She then received a MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 1997.
Since the late 1990s Sarah Sze's signature sculptural aesthetic has presented ephemeral installations that penetrate walls, suspend from ceilings and burrow into the ground. The artist creates immense, yet intricate site-specific works which manipulate every space - be that a gallery, domestic interior or street corner - and profoundly affects the way it is viewed. Sze's practice exists at the intersection of sculpture, painting and architecture where her formal interest in light, air and movement is coupled with an intuitive understanding of colour and texture. Sze utilises a myriad of everyday objects in her installations from cotton buds and tea bags to water bottles and ladders, light bulbs and electric fans. Presented as leftovers or traces of human behaviour, these items, released from their commonplace duty possess a certain vitality and ambition within the work. Her careful consideration of every shift in scale between the humble and the monumental, the throwaway and the precious, the incidental and the essential solicits a new experience of space, disorienting and reorienting the viewer at every turn.
Her intricate works, each of which she constructs by hand, consist of unexpected and carefully arranged combinations of materials. Sze transforms these everyday objects into gravity-defying works in horizontal and tower-like formations that zigzag into the heights of gallery spaces.
Sze is 2003 recipient of the MacArthur Fellows Program "genius grant".
Sze is represented by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York and Victoria Miro Gallery in London.