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Royalty-free images to be used exclusively for press on Mudam
Sarah Oppenheimer

S – 399390

The US artist Sarah Oppenheimer sees her interventions as catalysts for sharpening awareness of the spaces in which they take place. The works she has made since 2002 are always painstakingly prepared and executed with extreme precision. Oppenheimer is especially interested in the different conditions of the exhibition space, which are determined by architectural conventions, industrial norms and ideological tenets, but that to a large extent remain unnoticed. After a detailed analysis of the location in question based on a number of predetermined parameters, in which, for example, the architecture, the prevailing lighting conditions and visitor behaviour are examined, the artistic intervention is undertaken, which in most cases first presents itself as a negative space, as a “hole”. The contingencies of the spatial matrix, which Oppenheimer calls “the array”, are visibly transformed through the manipulation of architectural boundaries.

Royalty-free images to be used exclusively for press on Mudam
© Commission and production Mudam Luxembourg Courtesy the artist

With the systematic rigour that is characteristic of her, Oppenheimer has at the same time compiled an “encyclopaedia of holes” that determines the titles of her works: a typology that had until now codified only passageways and apertures. This typology has now been expanded to include the category “S” for “Switch” for her latest work, S-399390, at Mudam. Here, the artist exploits the specific role of the Grand Hall within the overall architecture of the museum as a central, open, undivided space that strongly influences the flow of visitors. She sets up two “switches” that repeatedly change their position according to a precisely orchestrated scheme throughout the three months of the exhibition. These “switches” consist of two movable glass corridors whose dimensional ratios are directly derived from the proportions of the Grand Hall and that appear transparent or reflective to visitors depending on the lighting conditions. Their location within and between the entryways of the Grand Hall modifies the direction of visitor procession through Mudam’s gallery spaces. Their complex appearance, a hybrid form between parallelepiped and cuboid, contributes to a confusingly efficient perspectival conflation with the diagonal and orthogonal lines of the Grand Hall and allows visitors walking through or around them to gain not just a new and constantly changing view of the architecture, but also a deeper understanding of their own awareness.


Sarah Oppenheimer | 2016 | Glass, metal, wood and existing architecture.


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