Monika Sosnowska (born 1972 in Ryki, Poland) studied at the Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan (1993–1998), and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam (1999–2000. In 2003 she received the Bâloise Prize at Art Basel as well as the Polityka's Passport award given by Poland’s most prestigious weekly.
Sosnowska lives in Warsaw. She studied in the painting department at Poznan, but during her final years at the academy she found that the ‘painting started to escape her canvas.’ She began to create works that played with both two-dimensional painting and three-dimensional space, finally giving up the canvas altogether and instead using the space itself as a sort of 3-D painting.
Sosnowska treats space as a medium for her works, always designing projects to fit into a specific space. Often she modifies pre-existent architecture, transforming the physical space into mental space and playing with the viewer’s perceptions. She has explained: ‘I am especially interested in the moments when architectural space begins to take on the characteristics of mental space.’
In 2003 she took part in the 50th Venice Biennale, contributing The Corridor to the Arsenale exhibition ‘Clandestine’, curated by Francesco Bonami. Sosnowska created an architectural intervention that was also an optical illusion. Her institutional-looking corridor appeared to stretch on a long distance and it was only upon entering it that the viewer realized that the space became narrower and lower making it impossible to reach the doors at the end and remain upright.
In 2007 Sosnowska represented Poland at the 52nd International Venice Biennale, presenting ‘1:1’ which crammed a bent fragment of modern architecture into the Polonia Pavilion, a 1930s building. Sosnowska wrote: ‘It should look as if two buildings have been constructed in the same space and have to live in symbiosis, or rather to parasite on each other. To fight, or rather to wrestle with each other. In reality my intention is to create a surreal and impossible situation.’
Other major international exhibitions by Sosnowska include a solo show at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 2006, for which she used the existing space to create a three-dimensional sculpture of geometric forms; ‘Loop’ at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein in 2007, a Moebius strip-like architectural intervention; ‘Monika Sosnowska, Andrea Zittel. 1:1’ at Schaulager, Basel, in 2008; and ‘Untitled’ for K21 Ständehaus, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, a de Chirico-esque response to the extraordinary architecture and history of the museum, on display until 15 April 2012.
- Monika Sosnowska, www.culture.pl (http://www.culture.pl/web/english/visual-arts-full-page/-/eo_event_asset_publisher/Ny17/content/monika-sosnowska)
- Monika Sosnowska, “Mala Alicja”, (http://www.csw.art.pl)
- Monika Sosnowska, ‘Monika Sosnowska 1:1’, 2007