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Press release

The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot

Alicja Kwade


Exhibition Dates April 16–October 27, 2019 
Exhibition Location The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof
Gallery 926 


Berlin-based artist Alicja Kwade has been selected to create a site-specific installation for The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot will be on view from April 16 through October 27, 2019.

The exhibition is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Additional support is provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

“The Met's Roof Garden Commission is a catalyst for bold artistic intervention and the continuous rethinking of a unique space, so it's with great anticipation that we unveil Alicja Kwade's project," said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. "The setting—perched atop the Museum's vast collection, with New York City's iconic skyline and Central Park as the backdrop—presents a compelling site for Kwade, whose works offer an expansive view of the history of art and science.”

Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Met, added, "Kwade’s sculptural constellation playfully frames the jagged skyline of the city while cleverly provoking us at the same time to think about how we understand the universe out there, beyond the sky over The Met’s roof."

Using a wide range of media, Kwade creates elegant, experiential sculptures and installations that reflect on time, perception, and scientific inquiry. With equal parts poetry and critical insight, she calls into question the systems designed to make sense of an otherwise unfathomable universe. For the Roof Garden Commission, Kwade has created two sculptures: ParaPivot I and II. These towering sculptures consist of powder-coated steel frames that intersect at oblique angles. Nestled within are nine massive spheres that float in apparent weightlessness. The carved and polished stones, each with a unique color and intricate patterning, are all different types and come from nine different countries, including hermelin from Norway and azul macaubas from Brazil. ParaPivot I and II are charged with the possibility of movement: their steel appendages, which fan outward around multiple axis points, seem to trace the orbital pathways of the globes. In this sense, they evoke an astrolabe, a scientific instrument invented in ancient Greece and adopted by Islamic astronomers in the medieval period to chart the trajectory of the stars and planets. Kwade’s sculptural ballet also calls to mind a miniature solar system, a piece of outer space that has settled tempo­rarily on the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.

The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot was conceived by the artist in consultation with Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Kelly Baum, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Curator of Contemporary Art, both of The Met's Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. The commission, the seventh in a series of site-specific commissions for the outdoor space, is curated by Kelly Baum.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

About the Artist

Born in 1979, Alicja Kwade lives and works in Berlin. Raised by a cultural scientist mother and a conservator and art historian father, she grew up in Poland and, later, Germany. In 1999, Kwade entered the Universität der Künste in Berlin to study sculpture, and three years later she began showing in solo and group exhibitions, achieving a remarkable degree of critical success in a relatively short period of time. Although Kwade has also made videos and sound art, she is best known for her sculptures and installations, most of which are designed with specific spaces in mind. Kwade’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, including Out of Ousia, at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen (2018); Medium Median, at Whitechapel Gallery in London (2016); and The Void of the Moment in Motion, at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt (2015). Her work has also been featured in such prestigious exhibitions as the 57th Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva (2016), and the 2016 Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Forming in the Pupil of an Eye. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition at a museum in the United States.

The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot is featured on The Met’s website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the hashtag #CantorRoof.



April 10, 2019

Image: Alicja Kwade (b.1979, Poland). The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot. Installation view (detail), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019. Courtesy of the artist; 303 Gallery, New York; KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin/London; and kamel mennour, Paris/London. Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Hyla Skopitz


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