Magazine article Art Monthly

Tomas Saraceno

Magazine article Art Monthly

Tomas Saraceno

Article excerpt

Tomas Saraceno The Curve Barbican London May 5 to July 16

Tomas Saraceno's exhibition at the Barbican, the first in a series of special commissions for the art centre's tricky Curve gallery, is made for those of us who wistfully press our faces against airplane windows and try to imagine floating in the clouds. Cumulus, 2006, spreads indulgently across the 80-metre wall of The Curve, using 32 video projectors to display an awe-inspiring panoramic landscape. It is initially difficult to identify. While small hills and land masses suggest where the sky ends and the earth begins, the film is shot somewhere so beautifully desolate and empty of human life that it is hard to imagine it exists in our over-populated planet.

And that sky: it seems to suck you in, making a sunset, always a moving experience, truly breathtaking, and an everyday slightly cloudy blue sky seem the most spectacular thing on earth. The work is accompanied by a soundtrack of the whooshing and fluttering of air at high altitude, adding to the sensation that you are somewhere up there, flying among the clouds.

Saraceno filmed the work in the 12,000 square kilometre expanse of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the largest salt lake in the world. The word lake is slightly deceptive here, as it is set in a desert, 3,600 metres above sea level, with only a thin layer of water that can easily be walked through and which reflects the massive sky above. To film it, the artist used a ring of 32 cameras floating on the lake. Interesting though this is, it seems a slight shame to reveal the mechanics of the piece here, as it grounds it back in the practical world of clever solutions to technical problems. Yet this is also very much what the artwork is about for Saraceno, perhaps far more than giving the viewers an epic experience, for it forms part of an ongoing body of work that explores different possibilities of how we might live in the future.

Saraceno trained as an architect in his home country of Argentina, and went on to study both art and architecture in Frankfurt am Main, where he continues to live. This architectural background has informed his ongoing project Air-Port-City, which he describes, in an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Stefano Boeri, as an idea to 'create platforms or habitable cells made up of cities that float in the air. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.