An expert jury chaired by Prof. Dr. Wulf Herzogenrath selected the work “Sundial for Spatial Echoes” by Tomás Saraceno for the bauhaus museum weimar yesterday. The jury was impressed by its distinctive perspective on the Bauhaus. “Saraceno cultivates a tradition that Walter Gropius had found so fascinating in Goethe – the harmony of art and science, of nature and culture – and that fits especially well to the 21st century,” explained jury chairman Wulf Herzogenrath, current director of the Visual Arts Section at the Academy of the Arts in Berlin. The Klassik Stiftung Weimar will now be able to install the work in the museum foyer for permanent display starting 5 April 2019, the official opening of the bauhaus museum weimar.
The work will be made possible thanks to a federal programme entitled “Art in Building” (Kunst am Bau). With funding provided by the German federal government and the Free State of Thuringia, the winner of the competition will be awarded 200,000 euros to implement the project.
In keeping with the ideas of Bauhaus, the installation resists clear delineation between art, science and architecture. Rather it takes an interdisciplinary angle and integrates aspects of physics, biology, sociology, urban studies and a participative concept of art. It engages in vibrant dialogue with the architectural structure of the museum in that it imperceptibly activates the room as a resonance chamber. The work comprises a cloudlike landscape made of interwoven, web-like fibres which invites the viewers to immerse themselves in an alternate reality. The surreal, almost virtual feel of the surroundings allows the real world to fall away for a moment and creates a dynamic, reflective atmosphere.
The web-like structures which form the modules of this landscape are reminiscent of spider webs and cosmic structures – two key sources of inspiration for the artist. Contextually, Saraceno’s proposal for the bauhaus museum weimar comes after many years of investigations and projects. These were based on his intensive interest in complex, web-like configurations and structures resembling clouds, soap bubbles and geometrical forms. The intricate systems of interwoven ropes and cloud-like clusters arranged within them allude to Saraceno’s artistic investigation of the composition, social significance and transferable potential of spider webs for other structures. To this end, the artist has collaborated with experts in the various scientific fields.
Designed to reflect daylight and artificial light, the installation also possesses an interactive quality. Visitors will be allowed to pluck one of the ropes of the installation which will set the entire web into motion and create a unique echo. The constant change in perception will transform the visitors’ aesthetic experience into a synesthetic one. In this highly sensual way, they will be able to explore their own personal boundaries of perception.
In addition to the scientific disciplines, themes and research fields mentioned above, the prizewinning installation also includes art-historical references to the architectural visionaries Frei Otto and Richard Buckminster Fuller. Tomás Saraceno’s artistic research and aesthetic endeavours are driven by his desire to develop and build utopian structures which take into account sociological and environmental issues. Combining the characteristics of clouds, the sun and webs, he responds to the specific challenges of a visionary city in the globalised world of the 21st century.
Tomás Saraceno, born in 1973 in San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina, lives and works in Berlin. His work can be described as an ongoing research project, shaped by the world of art, architecture, the natural sciences, astrophysics and engineering. His floating sculptures, community-based projects and interactive installations offer new and sustainable possibilities to inhabit and perceive our living environment. In “Aerocene”, an open-source community project for artistic and scientific exploration, Saraceno created an installation that only kept afloat with the heat of the sun and the infrared radiation emitted from the earth’s surface. In the past ten years, Saraceno has collaborated with several renowned international research institutions, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Max-Planck Institute, the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore and the Natural History Museum in London.
Saraceno is the first person to scan, reconstruct and reinvent the woven spatial habitats of spiders, and owns the only existing three-dimensional spiderweb collection in the world. He lectures at academic institutions worldwide and served as director of the Institute for Architecture-related Art (IAK) at TU Braunschweig from 2014 to 2016. He has completed residencies at the Centre National d'Études Spatiales (2014–2015), the MIT Centre for Art, Science & Technology (since 2012) and the Atelier Calder (2010). In 2009 he presented a large-scale installation at the 53rd Venice Biennale and later received the prestigious Calder Prize. His works have been presented in numerous international solo and group exhibitions.