Sarah Oppenheimer is an artist who works at the intersection of fine art, architecture, and engineering. Her mind-boggling installations are meant to disrupt the way we think of interior spaces through the use of mathematically based optical allusions — pieces that are equal parts M.C. Escher sketches and Alice in Wonderland.
“Every building has its secrets,” says René Morales, curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami. “Sarah’s work explores and unravels the secrets of the buildings she engages.”
Commissioned by PAMM to build a piece for the Herzog & de Meuron-designed museum, Oppenheimer recently unveiled plans for S-281913 — two architectural switches made of rotating glass elements that alternate in brightness and transparency. The piece uses the building's electrical grid and natural light cascading over Biscayne Bay to alter the viewers' frame of reference, seeming to bring distant objects into close proximity and vice versa.
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Born in Austin, Texas, Oppenheimer earned an MFA from Yale before settling in New York to pursue her practice. A fascination with empty spaces, in particular galleries, led to a career dedicated to challenging architectural norms. Her pieces are not meant solely to warp perception, but to permanently alter the way viewers approach interior spaces, subverting even the most basic preconceptions.
The recently announced installation at PAMM will be a large part of the museum's upcoming Art Basel lineup, which will also feature the first U.S. retrospective of Argentine conceptual artist Julio Le Parc and installations by queer artist Carlos Motta.
“The complex production of this piece testifies to Sarah’s status as a proponent for sculpture that comes to terms with architecture and engineering,” PAMM director Franklin Sirmans says. “PAMM supports contemporary artists who push the boundaries of diverse fields of inquiry while suggesting new paths for art-making.”
Oppenheimer's S-281913, presented by JP Morgan Chase, will be on view at Pérez Art Museum Miami September 30, 2016, through April 30, 2017. For information regarding show openings and special events, contact the museum directly at 305-375-3000.