For her installation at Berlin’s Capitian Petzel, Polish artist Monika Sosnowska, in her signature style, emphasizes space through an array of constructed structures. Seven pieces fill the main gallery space, arranged in a line, beginning with the smallest–a metal stool whose legs have been bent so the viewer is actually looking at the stool’s underside–and concluding with a large, twisted sculpture resembling a railing or banister that is mysteriously hung upon a wall. Each of the structures represents an element of everyday Polish life. A picnic table with the seats folded over the table top, a open door and frame lacking a room to walk in or out of, and the cross-section of two walls creating four individual half-spaces that mimic a bar in a small Polish town. The sculptures engage in a dialogue about the former Eastern Bloc’s highly recognizable public architectural and structural elements, which is then accentuated by Capitian Petzel’s modernist gallery, situated along a wide communist-style boulevard in what was once East Berlin. The placement of Sosnowska’s objects in an incongruent line, and their manipulation speaks to a part of Europe still in transition, and an inability, or unwillingness, to forget the lived histories of the past.
Sosnowska lives and works in Warsaw and is one of Poland’s most recognized contemporary artists. She has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe, including the 50th Venice Biennale and Manifest 4. Capitian Petzel is one of Berlin’s newest galleries. Housed in a glass pavilion located along Karl-Marx-Allee in eastern Berlin’s East Mitte neighborhood, the gallery is a collaborative project of Gisela Capitian of Gallerie Gisela Capitian in Cologne and Friedrich Petzel of Friedrich Petzel Gallery in New York. Their exhibitions feature a variety of international artists interacting with the unique and historic space.