Celestial installation, a thing of beauty, intergalactic ballet, off balance and dizzy, a pictograph spelling out our own destruction, a glactic balancing act of metal and stone, a giant jungle gym, massive spheres that float in apparent weightlessness… these are the phrases critics and reporters have used to describe Alicja Kwade on her installation ParaPivot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “We are living on a spinning rock,” Kwade said. “I hope they make you feel small but big in the same moment.”
…don’t think about gravity – think of the fact that, while you’re at the museum, you’re also on a sphere spinning through space”. – New Yorker, April 29, 2019. THINKING might be the operative word here. “ParaPivot” by Alicija Kwade is composed of nine spheres, each with a unique pattern, each from nine different countries.
Of the nine stone balls; the smaller, four, weigh roughly 700 to 3,400 pounds each. The total of nine spheres represent the nine planets of the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Walking around the sculpture, it’s impossible not to over hear what people are saying. Universally, everyone understands that these stone spheres represent the solar system.
“Human achievement and desire and what you can achieve as a human being” as its metal frames mimic the grid system of Manhattan and its “planets” remind us that we’re all living on a “spinning rock.” Kwade
Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum: “Kwade’s sculptural constellation playfully frames the jagged skyline of the city while cleverly provoking us at the same time to think about we understand the universe out there, beyond the sky over The Met’s roof.”
“When you look from one position, it looks that the sphere is sitting on top of the skyscrapers, so they look like pedestals,” she (Kwade) told AFP (Yahoo Finance), explaining that the towers are “actually just pedestals of pure capitalism.”
I was at the Met roof on windy cloudy day. The installation is a photographers dream. Whether you experience this sculpture as a cerebral exercise or visual interaction with the skyline; it’s lots of fun to walk around and contemplate your place in universe.
Alicja Kwade “ParaPivot I and II”
Metropolitan Museum of Art. April 16 – October 27, 2019