A major art exhibition in Palazzo Strozzi, Italy, has been put on hold for the time being, but we can still take a close look at some of the stunning installations that were on display.
The exhibition is devoted to Tomás Saraceno, whose multi-disciplinary practice encompasses art, social and life sciences. Aria, curated by Arturo Galansino, was the initial installation, greeting visitors in the institution’s courtyard with a composition of large, reflective spheres. The piece embodies Saraceno’s interest in challenging our approach to environmental issues by envisioning a future free from borders and fossil fuels — ideals propelled by the interdisciplinary artistic community initiated by the artist titled, Aerocene. The sculpture builds on Saraceno’s research into solar balloons capable of floating using only the heat of the sun, and encourages visitors to rethink the way we inhabit our planet in a poetic way.
The exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi is organised around Saraceno’s Arachnomancy cards, a set of 33 cards that pay homage to the interconnectedness of all things. Viewers were invited to consider the spider and its web, where the Arachnomancy determine and announce each room in the exhibition. The composition composes new threads that connect otherwise disparate elements.
Saraceno’s Arachnomancy cards aid in transforming the palazzo into an arena of experimentation and participation, and a pathway to imaginative experiences. Visitors were urged to rethink the ways in which humans inhabit the planet now and in the future, prioritising practices of multispecies care, over anthropocentric ideologies.
As visitors continued through the exhibition, they are encouraged to immerse themselves in evocative settings suggesting alternative futures.
Connectome is a set of suspended sculptures that suggest weaire-phelan geometries — a complex 3D structure representing an idealised foam of equal-sized bubbles. Sounding the Air and Webs of At-Tent(s)ion contained the sensorial worlds of spiders and webs, and the elemental atmospheres they compose. How to entangle the universe in a spider web? is a study into the relationship between dimensions, as communicated by a spiderweb, while Particular matter(s) jam session and Aerographies are both installations that look into the connections between cosmic dust and the dust that litters our planet and lungs. A Thermodynamic Imaginary is an absorbing experience of the universe’s desire to defy scale. Finally, Flying garden forms a sculptural provocation that seeks to displace our conventional notions of boundaries and territories.
The exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi offered visitors an opportunity to experience Saraceno’s vision of the world and its possibilities. Responding to the historic architecture of the site, the artist seeks to create a dialogue between the renaissance and the contemporary world — a shift from the idea of ‘man at the centre of the world’ to the conception of ‘man as part of a universe’.
Via designboom | Images © Ela Bialkowska, OKNO studio 2020