Sofi Żezmer – White Sequence LS1 (2011)
Medical instruments, plastic packaging materials and trivial, everyday objects have all formed the starting point for the hybrid sculptures and installations of Sofi Żezmer (Lodz, Poland, 1959, lives and works in Wiesbaden). The artist appears to have developed her own taxonomy, in which she combines these found objects in a new system. Straws, drip tubes, plastic foil, cycle helmets and funnels are transformed into transparent, occasionally brightly coloured, constellations. Abstracted to form and colour, the elements become unrecognisable in their new compositions and their original function and meaning can only be recognised with difficulty.
In the installation REM LS1 (2008), for example, the transformative power of her work becomes clear. Żezmer attached a partially perforated glass panel at an angle to the wall. Polyester threads and glass balls are distributed over the glass panel and the wall in separate groups. The glass and polyester assume a certain organic and fluid quality. The mobility and lightness of the composition make it seem like a clinical and subdued version of Alexander Calder’s mobiles, while also suggesting a three-dimensional reproduction of a biological structure of cells and mould. This is not surprising, as Żezmer usually finds her inspiration for these forms in biochemistry, quantum mechanics, stem-cell research, and also space exploration. This means that her forms have a futuristic, alien quality. It is as though Żezmer has literally placed this everyday material under a microscope in order to analyse its internal logic.
In fact, what Żezmer so closely examines is our consumerism in a society where, on a daily basis, we casually interact not only with products and non-durable goods, but also with technical equipment. With her sculptures and installations, she tries to create awareness of these objects and to review or even redefine our relationship with them. REM LS1 is therefore an appropriate title for her work. The REM of the title refers to rapid eye movement, the phase of sleep when we process our experiences. Żezmer attempts to explore her observations of society through her sculptures in a similar way.
The work that she created for Lustwarande ‘11 consists of a huge cord with round metal spheres in various sizes. This work expands upon the installation that she made for the NASPA Bank in Wiesbaden, Es darf kein Mangel herrschen (Scarcity shouldn’t rule (2008)), in which footballs, basketballs and other spheres formed the separate shapes in her molecular construction.
The work for Lustwarande ‘11 is, however, abstracted from this origin and is a more formalist and autonomous intervention. In De Oude Warande, the cord swung between the trees, threading through the foliage in a way that appeared almost natural. This work resembles an elegant pearl necklace, whose scale and colour are in contrast with the natural surroundings. However, at the same time, it also has the aura of a biomedical structure, with the balls grouped at specific intervals, like a magnified molecule. It is as though nature were dictating the arrangement of the balls and their varying sizes.
Laurie Cluitmans / translation Laura Watkinson