TOMAS SARACENO: CLOUD SPECIFIC: KEMPER ART MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS, MO
Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno is internationally recognized for his fantastic architectural proposals, pneumatic sculptures, and environmental installations. Tomás Saraceno will showcase newly commissioned works by Saraceno, including a selection of his latest inflatable sculptures, prototypes, and video work. This exhibition highlights the breadth of the artist’s experimental practice while advancing his longstanding exploration of an Air-Port-City (2001–present), a visionary project for a sustainable city in the sky consisting of a series of bubble-like cells fueled by solar energy. Based on extensive material investigations, Saraceno’s innovative prototypes developed for the exhibition visualize in small scale the possibility for future airborne experience.
Trained as an architect, Saraceno’s experimental practice expands the conventions of art, architecture, and science and their capacities to envision alternate ways of being and inhabiting the world. Like pioneering architects and artists before him—Buckminster Fuller, Archigram, Yona Friedman, Constant, Yves Klein, Gyula Kosice, and Antfarm, among others—Saraceno’s work involves conceptualizing modules for living that are capable of engendering significant social and political transformation. Drawing inspiration from structures found in nature—clouds, bubbles, spider webs—he produces spectacular installations that capture the imagination of experts and lay audiences alike while raising challenging questions about the sociopolitical conditions with which we live and our potential to change them. As the artist explains of his ongoing project, “Work on this structure tries to contest political, social, cultural, and military restrictions that are accepted today, in an effort to reestablish new concepts of synergy.”
The installation at the Kemper Art Museum will effectively transform the gallery into a laboratory space, reflecting both materially and theoretically the artist’s experimental ethos—a form of spatial practice driven by the belief that the most significant innovations emerge not from within singular disciplines but by working across realms of expertise. Saraceno’s interdisciplinary process has led him to successful collaborations with scientists at NASA as well as with a range of engineers, chemists, botanists, astrophysicists, and spider researchers, among others. The dialogues he enters into and the ideas sparked by his practice-based research are as much a part of the work as the finished art objects and installations he produces.