Hidden Relief, created by Sarah Sze in 2001, is a sculpture made of normal everyday objects molded together to form the 168 x 60 x 12 inch piece tucked away in the corner of a display room. Using an additive construction technique, Sze creates an abstractive world that screams, construction, industrialization, and urbanization.
Use of line, color, shape, and space are major elements that help to build the idea’s in this piece. Long, winding stands of paper, rulers, tools, and wood build the ideas of roads, buildings, and construction apparatus through their basic lines. Shapes formed by bottle caps, paper, moss balls, plants, and tools help to fill in the world outlined by the lines. The ideas of vehicles, large structures, hints of the nature, and lighting. Pops of color found in the scraps help unify certain regions of the sculpture and distinguish themes like construction, industrial creation, and natural scenes. Space is very unique in this piece. Though small in size, the sculpture provides a spacious feeling in its depth. Use of wood pegs, paper, and the destruction of parts of the wall integrate the design into the museum and make the sculpture seem larger than what meets the eye. With all of these elements, the sculpture introduces the principles of variety, asymmetrical balance, and movement. Variety can be seen in the different regions of color, line and shape throughout the sculpture. Asymmetrical balance can be found when dividing the piece across both the light fixture vertically and red tape horizontally. Vertically, there is a balance in the amount of space taken up and used. Horizontally, there is an asymmetrical balance in the consumption of space above and the void of space below. The use of line throughout the entirety of the sculpture guide the eye through the piece.
The sculpture really projects industrialization, urbanization, and the destruction of the environment. There is a sense of beauty in the construction of the geometric, modern design, but as it is explored, hints of nature appear and are very limited bringing the underlying sense of exposing the negative vice in society. The work’s mood seems to be very fun and busy, with a hidden sense of guilt in the destructive journey humanity embarked on to come to this urban age. I personally really enjoy this piece. The layers of interpretation that it offers allows for a new adventure every time the piece is viewed and a variety of moods that a viewer can connect with. This piece could play an important role in art history with it’s modern, geometric style and ability to convey a number of emotions and themes.