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Alicja Kwade

In Kwade’s large-scale installation In Blur, nothing is quite what it seems. Using double-sided mirrors and carefully placed paired natural objects like stones, bushes, and trees, the artist achieves the illusion of sudden and surprising transformations. The mirror glass conceals part of one of the objects, yet at the same time completes it with the mirror image of the same part in the other. In this way, a new, illusionary object is created through the overlaying of reality and appearance.

In Blur is more of an experience than a static installation. It comes to life through the viewer’s movement within the structure, as the way they read and understand the objects within it shifts depending on their perspective. This poetic work of art is a complex interplay of reflections on the world around us; it challenges the visitor’s understanding of their surroundings, emphasizing the subjectivity of perception and thus reality. In Blur draws inspiration from the surrounding iconic landscape and geological heritage. It features and strengthens the iconic landscape in all aspects: the vastness of the desert, the clear sky, the dramatic canyon. Reflecting the light and atmosphere of the desert, the mirrors almost create a Fata Morgana effect.

Alicja Kwade’s (b. 1979, Poland, based in Berlin) work challenges the ways in which reality is perceived or accepted by articulating different disciplines, such as philosophy, science, sociology, and astronomy. Her works include sculptural objects, public installations, video, and photography. She uses a wide range of materials and often employs acts of repetition, mirroring, rotation, bending, casting, pulverisation, and dismantling in order to activate alternative modes of perception intended to challenge the human senses.

In 2019, Kwade was awarded the Roof Garden Commission for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. She has participated in Desert X 2021, California, the 57th Venice Biennale Viva Arte Viva (2017), the Setouchi Triennale (2019), and the 3rd ARoS Triennale The Garden - End of Times, Beginning of Times, #3 The Future in Aarhus (2017). Recent venues for solo shows include the Langen Foundation, Neuss; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Helsinki; and the Yuz Museum, Shanghai. Her works belong to several international private and public collections.

In Blur
26°39’03.8”N 37°59’34.4”E
AlUla, Saudi Arabia
Desert X AlUla 2022