The Universe is his world…architect and artist, a utopian dreamer and modern adventurer with an interest in science, Tomas Saraceno derives inspiration from space, the sky, clouds, and also all things infinitely small like spider webs, soap foam, etc. He creates graceful works, suspended, floating and flying through the air.
With this new exhibition, curated by Laurence Dreyfus, Caroline and Eric Freymond offer us another exciting encounter with a fascinating artist at the Espace Muraille.
During his training as an architect and his Space studies at NASA and CNES in Paris, he’s developed the know-how that enables him to design, in collaboration with engineers and experts, great experimental works. He uses ultra-light materials for his ”Cloud Cities” -illustrating a world without gravity- that have been floating above big metropolises (Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, New York), as well as for his inflated balloons able to travel using nothing but wind energy. Tomas Saraceno is currently working on the “Air Port City” project, which appears as a spectacular transparent structure powered by solar energy. It would serve as a place of exchange without borders, where everyone could pass freely throughout the entire world.
Through his works, the Argentin artist creates a world apart, where men would live in perfect harmony with each other and with nature. “Turn your life into a dream and your dream into reality”: there’s a bit of Saint Exupéry in the positive, engaging philosophy of Tomas Saraceno », as Caroline Freymond mentions. Indeed, his world resembles that of Le Petit Prince, of his planets where man and his environment live symbiotically.
With his dreamlike creations Saraceno researches alternative lifestyles to promote the preservation of natural resources and sustainable development. Invited to the United Nations COP21 conference in Paris, he has displayed “Aerocene” in the Grand Palais: a spectacular sculptural installation intended to fly and move with the sun and wind without using a drop of fuel.
Why “Aerocene?” This word makes reference to “Anthropocène,” which characterizes the geological period of the Earth where human activities had a significant impact on the ecosystem. Tomas Saraceno’s activity imprint will focus on air, space, and the sky, thanks to his suspended creations.
At the same time (and until Feb 2016) , Tomas Saraceno showcases 15 pieces of Art representative of his thinking on the world of tomorrow, at the Espace Muraille in Geneva.
Here, the artist has decided to play on the contrast between the minerality of the foundations of the Espace Muraille, and the lightness of his works, explains Laurence Dreyfus. In the entrance of the exhibition, I am amazed by a polygonal “flying sculpture” in bright shades. Turning around it, reflections on the ultra-fine, iridescent Plexiglas walls change one’s perception of color. Sublime!
Alveolar shapes are a recurring motif in his artistic work. They illustrate the particular structure of foam which results from an improbable and magical encounter between “air and liquid” in nature.
In the first room, several hanging works complement and interact with each other. One transparent, just hemmed carbon fiber but woven with intertwining threads, another filled with inflated balloons, referencing his “Cloud Cities”, etc. Each one brings an idea and an artistic value of its own. My absolute favorite is the suspension with the enigmatic name of “GJ 15.” A game of transparence between matter and emptiness—mirrored, metallic, monochrome reflections of jewels.
Is it his architect background that has aroused Sareceno’s passion for spiders building incredibly fine and complex webs? Maybe, he says to me with a smile. Saraceno tells me about his fascination with spiders, ones that he feeds, heals, observes, and records.
He raises about 300 of them, of the “social” type, in the Ecuadorian forest. The artist places some of them in a big box and leaves them to weave their webs at their own will. Then sometimes, he turns the box gently in order to modify the gravitational conditions. By doing this, he obtains a new weavings that cannot be found in nature. To display these weavings, he chose a dark room in the basement of the Espace Muraille where only the spider webs, again suspended, are illuminated through Plexiglas boxes.
The exhibition ends much as it began, with a powerful colored work called “Iridescent Planet,” a magical, fluorescent meteorite fallen on Earth.
Thank You to Eric and Caroline Freymond for having once again surprised and amazed us in their unique Espace Muraille, to Laurence Dreyfus for her outstanding exhibitions, and to Tomas Saraceno, an enchanting artist who brings us into his dreams, suspended between the sky and the earth.
Translated by Erica DeMichel, Wesleyan University, Vassar Wesleyan Program in Paris Fall 2015