Off the Wall at SFMOMA, featuring work by Sarah Sze, images courtesy of Sze Studio

Professor Sarah Sze in Group Exhibition ‘Off the Wall’

BY Brittany Nguyen, March 31, 2021

Professor Sarah Sze is in the group exhibition, Off the Wall at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition presents photography-based installations that literally move the art off the wall and into the gallery space.


The exhibition features five contemporary artists, linked together by their ability to challenge traditional expectations of photographic display and presentation, expand upon earlier efforts to “break free from the confines of the picture frame by transforming photographs into sculpture, including them in complex installations, projecting them onto various surfaces, even creating custom furniture for their display,” according to SFMOMA. 


Sze’s “Images in Translation” is a small-scale installation including a table, computer, and projected digital renderings. The piece is a working sketch for her larger “Crescent (Timekeeper)”, where multiple projectors in a dark room display images onto photographs, small pieces of paper, and other objects arrayed on the floor. Together they produce a mesmerizing kaleidoscopic effect that radiates onto the surrounding walls. Sarah Sze’s intricate installation of still and moving images blurs the boundary between art and life, the virtual and the real. The installation “enables Sze to exert a modicum of control over the anxiety of image and information overload,” but in a way that is engaging to viewers in the dream-like multimedia state it conjures.


Sze's immersive works challenge the static nature of art. Her work questions the value society places on images and objects and how they both ascribe meaning to the places and times we inhabit. Widely recognized for expanding the boundaries between painting, sculpture, video and installation, Sze’s work ranges from intimate paintings that collapse time and space to expansive installations that create complex constellations of materials and public works that scale walls and colonize architectures.


Off the Wall is open to the public in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on Floor 3 from March 6 through September 5, 2021. Entry to this exhibition is included with general admission.