Tomás Saraceno: Watching Spider-Man’s Aerial Life

The Shed gave its all to Tomás Saraceno – a visionary Argentine artist and environmental celebrity who ranks among the world’s greatest spider whisperers – by giving him We run three of its four public spaces, or about 28,000 square feet. And Saraceno seems to have returned the favor, making for an interesting if highly conscious survey of his work in makeshift galleries, as well as two awe-inspiring installations in different places. elsewhere in the building. Total with title “Tomas Saraceno: Special Matter(s).”

The most ambitious of these is the Rose Shed which can literally make you feel weak in the knees. “Free the Air: How to Hear the Universe in a Spider/Web” is, in essence, the crux of this entire work. More late.

The smaller installation, “Museo Aero Solar”, seen in the third large space, focuses on a giant sphere resembling a tent and is in fact a grounding ball made of bags. plastic grocery – looks great, like a colorful fuzzy ball. comforter and visitors can enter and walk around. This is one of the projects of the Aerocene Foundation, a global community-based group led by Saraceno and dedicated to the development of fuel-free flying vehicles – powered only by the movement of wind and sun.

Exhibits and installations together form something like the full Saraceno: part education; partial cooperation; Experience a body part, with multiple beautifications throughout. “Specific issue(s)” tagged as the largest representation of the artist’s work in the United States. The whole thing was organized by Emma Enderby, Shed’s curator in general, with Alessandra Gómez and Adeze Wilford, its assistant curator. The Shed Screen is complemented in helpful ways by Saraceno’s program at his longtime rep, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery at Chelsea.

Saraceno is not much of an artist when it comes to mission, and his efforts are often more like science than art. The different displays of The Shed reflect, to varying degrees, his activities as spiderman, artist, architect, activist, teacher, musician, environmentalist and social justice warrior for clean air. His overarching goal can be summed up simply to make people live properly. This is meant to make them understand that they are not the tip of the pyramid of power in the so-called Anthropocene epoch, but exist on a horizontal plane with all non-humans, where they should be tamed and from there they have a lot to learn. And they exist in what Saraceno likes to call the Aerocene epoch, in which there is a need for cooperation between species and clean air.

That said, one might ask how Saraceno’s environmentally conscious person allowed his work to be shown at the Warehouse. Granted the building, or at least its exterior, may be the best part of the civic disaster and failure of will that is Hudson Yards, perhaps the worst of the many ant wounds. This city’s recent self-inflicted architecture.

Saraceno’s mission is inspired by spiders and the ingenious underpinnings of their aerial lifestyle – multifunctional webs that provide shelter, protection, food and, when shaken, a vehicle contact. Spider webs are also used as models for levitating sculptures. Consisting of webs and translucent globes, they have become Saraceno’s most famous work, of which “Free the Air” is the latest example.

The exhibition section of “Tomas Saraceno Specificular Matter” begins with a tranquil scene of his collaboration with spiders: in a darkened gallery, seven glass boxes each contain a number of different connected webs. , all in shimmering white. Each web is built by a different species of spider on a sturdy wireframe in Saraceno’s studio, where he tracks their progress, switching one species and introducing another as he sees fit. Especially in the dark, these ghostly, pale crystalline structures make you appreciate how much we owe spiders, for their webs have provided man with architectural precedents. and textiles.

To the amateurs, the webs of the various species here often split into nets, often in fan-like extensions, soft canopies, and giant filaments that can resemble hurled pickups. suspended in the air. The combination is beautiful, reminiscent of modern architecture and – due to the sudden change in pattern and rhythm – brushstrokes or music. Unfortunately, information about which spiders worked in each test tube (how many members of which species for how long) was found, only on a label outside the gallery; it will be available on a flyer.

From here, the topic turns to air pollution, which is dangerous to spiders as well as humans, especially the incredibly small, breathable carbon particles known as particulate matter. In a corner, you’ll find “Arachnomancy,” a tarot deck printed with granular matter in honor of Cameroon’s spider gods.

Occupying three nearby walls, “We Don’t All Breathe the Same Air,” another Shed committee, protesting air pollution inequality, is more divided by race than class. grant, according to Harriet A. Washington, author of “Medical Apartheid”, who has written about racism in the environment and contributed an essay to the catalog. The works consist of seven large, framed pieces of paper that measure pollution levels at different locations in seven states over two years. Pollution levels in dots range from almost invisible to very dark. They look minimalistic, but clearly illustrate the inequality of this country where clean air matters.

The final two galleries of the show return to the aesthetics of the web. “Sounding the Air” consists of five long, thick threads made up of the many threads of a spider’s web. Light hitting the fibers makes them undulate; Through cameras and computers, these movements are transformed into avant-garde music-like sounds. In “How to get entangled in the universe of a cobweb/web?” a laser that scans continuously through an elongated strip of cobwebs. The result is a red splendor that looks like the universe is moving. Its message? The spider web is much more complicated than suggested in the opening gallery.

In the final collection, “A Thermodynamic Fantasy,” Saraceno uses large glass spheres, meshed strings and strings, small glass doodles, and their shadows to evoke transitions. planetary movements and even solar eclipses in a beautiful, yet astonishing, conventional setting. But a fascinating video playing on the left wall of this gallery allows us to glimpse the black aerosolar sculptures, which resemble three-dimensional kites; they are part of the “Museo Aero Solar” project being tested at Salinas Grandes in Argentina. Watching the sculptures rise and fade away from the tiny figures on the ground is an extremely interesting sight.

If you have read the texts on the transparent wall, you may find this exhibit a bit daunting, but you may have learned a lot and may feel a little more optimistic about the fate of the planet. . It helps to know that respite awaits in the installations, especially the gentle “Free the Air,” Saraceno’s wonderful white sphere (95 feet in diameter) more or less eating up McCourt’s space. . In round two is a pair of trampoline-like wire mesh. The light space darkens, as visitors – sitting or lying on their side – hear and feel, a 20-minute concert: the vibrations of the composition originate from the recorded movement of air particles. It can take you out of this world, for a little while.

The show at Tanya Bonakdar, 521 West 21 Street, is in some ways a continuation of Shed’s. It focuses on the installation made from the black polyester rope that Saraceno was first known for. Stretchy ropes criss-cross in white space with intricate spherical structures at their intersections. They look like stars, snowflakes, magnifying particles and of course spider webs – equipped with a live mic that connects to an active speaker. Visitors are allowed to touch them, with vibrations off, like spiders in their web.

The summation of these two exhibits, but especially the one at the Warehouse, is a much deeper appreciation of Saraceno’s love of spiders. Whether you like these creatures or not, they are helping to provide a better future.

Tomás Saraceno: Special Matter(s)

Through April 17 at Shed, 545 West 30 Street, Manhattan; 646-455-3494, Tomás Saraceno: Watching Spider-Man’s Aerial Life

Fry Electronics Team

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