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Sarah Oppenheimer’s Mind-Bending Artworks Alter Gallery Spaces And Our Experience Of Them

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New York-based artist Sarah Oppenheimer creates eye-catching minimal installations that explore the relationship between architecture, movement, and perception within the gallery space.

Centered on themes including the manipulation of thresholds and transition spaces, movement, and tactile engagement, Oppenheimer’s art aims to disorient spatial experience and perception of the room while physically transforming their surroundings. Showcased in major institutions around the globe, her work engages with the restructuring, heightening, or negating of boundaries between and within architectural spaces. In her site-specific installations, panels, windows, doors, and walls transform and reconfigure the rooms they inhabit, both physically and perceptually, as visitors move around or interact with them.

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P-021110, 2014 | Image © Andreas Zimmermann

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P-021110 | Image © Andreas Zimmermann

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P-021110 | Image © Andreas Zimmermann

Oppenheimer has made the investigations of human interaction with architecture the core of her art. Modulating the flow of light and people, and connecting and dividing architecture, her thresholds and transition spaces produce complex perceptual illusions, which are further enhanced by the use of glass and its reflections. Often consisting of architectural elements with hidden mechanical components that visitors unconsciously activate to rotate, manipulate, and alter the architecture of adjoining spaces, the artist’s works propose an understanding of architecture as a controllable environment rather than a durable construction. Making physical contact a fundamental element of the artwork, Oppenheim also transgresses tactile restrictions that are often imposed by cultural institutions, empowering visitors to touch and experience the art first-hand.

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S-337473, 2017 | Image © Serge Hasenböhler

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S-337473, 2017 | Image © Serge Hasenböhler

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S-334473, 209 | Image © Richard Barnes

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S-334473, 209 | Image © Richard Barnes

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S-334473, 209 | Image © Richard Barnes

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S-334473, 209 | Image © Richard Barnes

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S-334473, 209 | Image © Richard Barnes

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S-337473, 2017 | Image © Serge Hasenböhler

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S-399390, 2016 | Image © Serge Hasenböhler

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S-399390, 2016 | Image © Serge Hasenböhler

Video © Andrew Ina