360 (Portable Planetarium), 2010
mixed media, wood, paper, string, jeans, and rocks
411.5 x 345.4 x 469.9 cm installed
National Gallery of Canada (no. 43308)
Photo © NGC
Constructed from an array of commercial products ranging from plastic medicine and soft drink bottles to industrial ladders, Sarah Sze's "360 (Portable Planetarium)" summons both the vastness of the cosmos and the intimacy of the miniature. The rounded wood outline evokes a planetary orb, while found photographs of land and sea within the sculpture suggest the earth's organic make-up. At the outer edge of the intricate structure, three projectors create a "planetarium" as they cast a constellation of shimmering lights across the gallery wall. Making possible references to bygone eras of antiquity where the stars were exalted as the heavenly resting place of deities, Sze's work turns materials and post-consumer waste into a poetic portrait of the earth and its fragile and mysterious position within the solar system.
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