Sarah Oppenheimer at MASS MoCA
22 October 2019
Sarah Oppenheimer unveils a new site-specific work at MASS MoCA.
S-334473 performs as a dynamic spatial switch: two instruments work in tandem to reorient the exchange of sight and circulation within Building 6. A visitor’s touch sets the work in motion, pivoting volumes of glass and metal along a 45-degree axis through a defined arc. When vertically oriented, each instrument nestles between the buildings’ historic columns. Once rotated, the volumes slip out of alignment and become horizontal reflecting screens. The arcing movement from vertical column to horizontal lintel creates unexpected thresholds and pathways. While manipulating the instruments’ contours and orientation, visitors walk beneath and around their outermost edges. Sightlines are redirected through the building’s interior spaces, towards the north-facing windows and onto the Hoosic River and mountains beyond.
The rotational axis of the instruments extends through the ceiling onto the floor above, where the mechanical infrastructure that sets the work in motion is revealed to visitors. The arc of each switch is visible, creating an index of the instrument’s position below.
Oppenheimer’s S-334473 mobilizes the museum’s architecture in order to transform and extend the visitor’s understanding of the exhibition spaces it reveals, and disrupts. In the process, artwork and viewer become joined in an intricate choreography of the inhabited environment.
Image: Oppenheimer's installation at Perez Museum, Miami