Press Office Exhibition

SFMOMA Presents Site-Specific Installation by Tomás Saraceno

Tomás Saraceno: Stillness in Motion—Cloud Cities

December 17, 2016–May 21, 2017

Released: October 06, 2016 · Last updated: December 16, 2016 · Download (216.9 KB PDF)

Tomás Saraceno, Cloud Cities Thermodynamics of Self-Assembly/005, 2015; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Tomás Saraceno; photo: courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (October 6, 2016)—The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present the exhibition Tomás Saraceno: Stillness in Motion — Cloud Cities, by artist Tomás Saraceno, on view at the museum December 17, 2016 through May 21, 2017. Organized by the SFMOMA Architecture and Design department, the exhibition includes an immersive site-specific cloudscape installation of suspended tension structures and floating sculptures, as well as explorations of the intricate constructions of spider webs.

“Visually provocative and conceptually rigorous, Saraceno’s practice merges art, architecture and science in a compelling, pragmatic and poetic way,” said Joseph Becker, associate curator of architecture and design at SFMOMA.

Stillness in Motion — Cloud Cities is part of Saraceno’s larger, long-term project titled Aerocene, the artist’s vision for a future era in which humanity minimizes the impact on the planet’s fossil-fuel resources, and instead resides in collective airborne cities.

Stillness in Motion — Cloud Cities is about becoming airborne, not to fly but to float in the air at the speed of solar aerostatics, from cumulonimbus cities to the cosmic web,” said Saraceno. “Aerocene is an invitation to shape a post fossil-fuel epoch, in a cloudscape of interconnected spheres of practices that include open, participatory platforms of knowledge production and distribution; models; data; and sensitivity to the more-than-human world. These airborne cities floating among the clouds (just as Earth floats in the cosmic plane) call for scalable mental, social and environmental ecologies.”

In the exhibition, visitors will be encouraged to wind their way through and below a geometrically complex array of cords and reflective panels, forming a cloud of 10,000 nodes suspended in the air by tension and connected to the gallery walls, floor and ceiling. This site-specific work is inspired by multiple phenomena and structures, including the social construction of spider webs, stellar and atmospheric clouds, bubble and foam geometry and social and neural communication networks.

Intended as a collective sensorial experience, Saraceno’s immersive installation works are captivating spaces that challenge viewers’ relationships to the world. His work resonates with several other great experimental thinkers whose radical work exploded the boundaries of art and architecture in the mid-20th century— from the structural explorations of artists like Gyula Kosice, to the utopian impulses of Buckminster Fuller; from Italo Calvino’s fictional universes to the futuristic urban visions of Archigram in London and the countercultural movement embodied by the multidisciplinary work of Ant Farm in the Bay Area.

Saraceno’s exhibition underlines SFMOMA’s longstanding commitment to experimentation and conceptual practice in art and architecture, and his airborne cities build upon the forward-thinking radicalism and progressive social change which has continually been a focus of SFMOMA’s Architecture and Design collection. Stillness in Motion — Cloud Cities will illuminate the powerful and inspiring connections between art, science and architecture at the gallery, urban and even planetary scale.

Major support for Tomás Saraceno: Stillness in Motion Cloud Cities is provided by Roberta and Steve Denning. Generous support is provided by Patricia W. Fitzpatrick, Diana Nelson and John Atwater, Denise Littlefield Sobel and Pat Wilson. Additional support is provided by The Sanger Family.

About Tomás Saraceno

Born in Argentina and trained as an architect and visual artist in Buenos Aires and Frankfurt, Tomás Saraceno is a research-based artist whose work envisions and tests hypothetical solutions that employ aeronautic and structural strategies, drawing from scientific investigations and collaborations in physics, biology, cosmology and engineering. His work has deep sociological motives, with undercurrents of human connection and the pursuit and provocation of speculative futures.

Saraceno is dedicated to exploring and questioning the intersections between the built and the natural world. Founded in Frankfurt but now located in Berlin, his studio operates like a laboratory and network, with multiple collaborators working internally and externally in researching and realizing works, from large-scale inhabitable installations, to the intricate structures of soap bubbles and spider webs, to the first and the longest manned aerosolar flight ever achieved.

Saraceno holds residencies at Centre National d’Études Spatiales (2014–2015), MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (2012–ongoing) and Atelier Calder (2010). In 2009, Saraceno attended the International Space Studies Program at NASA Ames. The same year Saraceno presented a major installation at the Venice Biennale, and was later awarded the prestigious Calder Prize. His installation works have been included in exhibitions at galleries and museums around the world including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rome, HangarBicocca, Milan, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin and Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K21, Dusseldorf.