From August 7, 2009 through November 8, 2009, SFMOMA will present Sensate: Bodies and Design, an exhibition of works by architects, designers and artists that represent new ways of thinking about the entanglement of human bodies and the designed world. Mutant bodies, fictional bodies, animate architecture: these are among the show’s provocations as it offers evidence of a lively contemporary debate about what bodies are and how they might be mirrored and met by design..
Organized by SFMOMA Architecture and Design Curator Henry Urbach, Sensate: Bodies and Design combines works of different media and scale from SFMOMA’s permanent collection. Works by architects include: Greg Lynn’s Embryologic House (1998) and R&sie’s Mosquito Bottleneck Project (2003). Design objects include: Oscar Niemeyer’s Vertebrae Chair (1970); John Dickinson’s Bone Cigarette Table (1977); Gaetano Pesce’s droopy, cast resin wall sconces (1997); Thom Faulders’s and Anna Rainer’s Undercover Table (1999); and and Marcel Wanders’s Airborne Snotty Vase: Pollinosis (2001). Works by artists include Aziz + Cucher’s Naturalia (2000), a series of fictional medical drawings, and Andre Kertesz’s extraordinary Distortion photographs, dysmorphic nude images made in 1933.
These works will be joined by two large-scale installations that have been fabricated for this exhibition. Andrew Kudless P_Wall covers an entire gallery wall, more than 45 feet long and 12 feet high. Made of cast plaster, its sagging, creased surfaces replace the smooth gallery wall with a skin decidedly more imperfect and flabby. Alex Schweder’s A Sac of Rooms All Day Long (2009) stuffs the rooms of an 800 square foot apartment into the building envelope of a 500 square foot bungalow to form an inflatable, breathing sculpture. The works begin as a heap of clear vinyl on the floor and, over the course of a day, inflates and continuously changes shape as the pregnant architectural misfit comes to life. Together these two works represent state-of-the-art research in experimental architecture and suggest ways to substitute traditional references to the idealized body with new approaches that admit greater complexity, nuance, and uncertainty.
Sensate: Bodies and Design is organized by SFMOMA. For additional information, please visit www.sfmoma.org.