About the Exhibition
This 40-foot-tall steel sculpture by Monika Sosnowska marks the threshold between the urban environment of midtown Manhattan and the landscape of Central Park. The artist has used pulleys, cranes, and other heavy machinery to manipulate a spiral staircase to resemble an evergreen tree. No longer climbable, its stairs cascade around the central shaft of the sculpture like weighted tree limbs. The ribbon-like railing forms a twisting red line against the black silhouette of the sculpture. As if piercing the pavement with industrial force, Fir Tree (2012) conjures an image of skyscrapers with steel roots below the city.
For more than ten years, Sosnowska’s work has explored our psychological relationship to the built environment, creating complex installations that alter our perceptions of familiar objects and spaces. Based in Warsaw, Sosnowska often works with architectural elements associated with Eastern Europe during the Soviet period. Fir Tree echoes the industrial steel staircases found on the exterior walls of Polish housing blocks. Here, this once-functional object refuses to serve its intended purpose. Instead it becomes an animated and outsized metaphor, testing the bounds of a familiar form as it reaches toward the urban skyline.
Associate Curator, Public Art Fund
Major support provided by the Kraus Family Foundation.
Additional funding is provided by Hauser & Wirth and an anonymous donor. In collaboration
with the Polish Cultural Institute New York.
Public Art Fund is a non-profit organization supported by contributions from individuals,
foundations, corporations and, in part, with funds from government agencies, including the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Special thanks to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris;
Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin; Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Veronica White; and Central Park Conservancy President Douglas Blonsky.
About the Artist
Monika Sosnowska (b. 1972, Ryki, Poland) lives in Warsaw. She studied at the Schola Posnaniensis (1992-93) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan (1993-98), and she completed a post-graduate program at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam (1999-2000). In addition to representing Poland in the Venice Biennale (2007) she has twice been invited to present her work in the Biennale’s Arsenale exhibition (2011, 2003). Select solo exhibitions include: Kunsthalle Nürnberg (2011); Tamayo Museum, Mexico City, Mexico (2011); 2011 Kurimanzutto, Mexico City (2011); Licthof/Atrium Project 1, K21 Düsseldorf (2010); Artpace, San Antonio, TX (2010); Herzliya Museum Tel Aviv, Israel (2010); Schaulager, Basel (2008); and Museum of Modern Art, Projects Series (2006).