Sonya Blesofsky
New York, NY


Artist’s Statement

Urban theorists posit that we experience the city by the way in which we move through it.  My work is directly inspired by my daily commutes in New York on foot, bicycle, bus or train through an ever-evolving architectural landscape. Primarily, I am interested in structural failure, construction, development and urban renewal.  My work consists of drawings and architecturally-flawed installations made out of paper, cardboard, wax, or foil.  My work comes from a place of great anxiety about things being unstable or falling apart.  

I have always been fascinated with the rate at which buildings get torn down and built back up in cities.  I am amazed at the amount of redevelopment taking place in Lower Manhattan and the waterfront in Brooklyn and Queens.  It seems there is a constant constructing, destructing, excavating and rebuilding taking place in New York   –the rate of redevelopment is exciting and alarming.  I am interested in issues that come with development and urban renewal, such as the fragility of communities and lost histories, but also how these issues serve as metaphors for memory and personal upheaval.  Untimely industrial accidents, the destruction of a long forgotten building, or an eviction from someone’s childhood home all feel like issues that are personal, yet universal. Terms that feel important to the process of creating this work are foundation, preservation, façade and retrofit.

I am also interested in collapse –of buildings and bridges, but also of the mechanisms that keep our society running.  In the last four years we have seen the collapse of levees, the housing bubble, and now our country’s financial system.  

Important elements in my work are engineering, scale, shadows and easily recognizable materials.  The construction of each piece is labor-intensive, yet once built, the work will soon break, decay or be deconstructed.   In this way there is a sense of urgency for experiencing the piece, as this is temporary work.  It is also important that the process of creating these structures be left exposed.  With this work I intend to generate questions and emphasize tension relating to dialectics of creation and destruction, vulnerability and indestructibility, the light and the dark, and stability and the tenuous. 

While in Miami...

The piece I will create will consist of everyday architectural details crafted in white vellum.  Drawing from the gallery’s immediate surroundings, the installation will address the ways in which people and businesses in Wynwood build structures to protect themselves and preserve their possessions, and also how we tend to overlook vital and unusual elements that make up the urban environment.  The installation will consist of barbed wire atop chain-link fence, window bars and front door gates, a tangle of electrical cables sprouting from a wall, caged and locked light fixtures and air-conditioning units, cinderblocks, wooden palettes, water-pipes crawling up a wall, and other urban infrastructural elements that often go unnoticed.  Each element of this ghostly installation will be life-size, and made entirely of paper, glue and tape.  The piece will address urban revitalization and draw subtle attention to the dialectic of decaying urbania and newly built structures in Wynwood –a place where new condos and lofts are being built but not sold, warehouses are left to fall apart, lots lie vacant, and latent construction materials wait to be utilized.

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