Tomas Saraceno at BAM / PFA

Tomas Saraceno at BAM / PFA

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

Tomás Saraceno: Biosphere MW32 Air-Port-City, 2007; installation view, Pinksummer Contemporary Art, Genoa, Italy, 2007; elliptical PVC pillows, air, polyester webbing, rope, flora and fauna, and people; dimensions variable; courtesy of the artist.

November 16, 2007

Tomás Saraceno
Microscale, Macroscale, and Beyond: Large-Scale Implications of Small-Scale Experiments

November 18, 2007 – February 17, 2008

2626 Bancroft Way
Berkeley CA 94720

This fall, BAM/PFA presents the first major exhibition in the United States of artist and visionary architect, Tomás Saraceno. Over many years, Saraceno has developed a body of work that relies on research into engineering, physics, chemistry, aeronautics, and architecture to experiment and propose new possibilities for how we live in relation to one another.

His vision for the future is articulated through Air-Port-City–a conceptual architectural proposal that envisages networks of habitable structures that float in the air. The freedom of their airborne location allows these sections of living space, and related spaces for leisure and work, to be organized within a modular cellular framework. As they join together like clouds, creating aerial cities in constant physical transformation, Saraceno sees these structures as capable of embodying more elastic and dynamic rules related to political, geographical, and cultural borders.

Alongside the theoretical development of his ideas, Saraceno undertakes a parallel pragmatic experimentation–transcending mere quixotic vision, he has constructed inflatable architectural structures to be entered, and designed and flew the largest geodesic solar balloon ever built. Saraceno’s sculptural practice models in microscale the future cities borne from his imagination.

For BAM/PFA, Saraceno will create a site-specific commission from his Flying Garden series, filled with Tillandsias that derive their nutrients from the air. Conceptually, this air-sufficient agricultural model serves as an accompaniment to other platforms for habitation or play, but also suggests the human self-sufficiency that his project envisions. In the MATRIX gallery, Saraceno will exhibit other works that explore material innovation and formal inspiration, poetically demonstrating properties of suspension and form-finding related to the feasibility of his utopian ideas.

Saraceno continues the tradition of visionary architects before him, including Buckminster Fuller, Frei Otto, Archigram, and the Ant Farm Collective. But his project is equally informed by the present moment–reflecting a consciousness about waste and conservation, striving for a harmonic balance between mediated and natural worlds, and acknowledging the interdependence of individuals to one another.

Tomás Saraceno was born in Argentina in 1973; he lives and works in Frankfurt, Germany. Upcoming exhibitions include Megastructure Reloaded, Berlin; Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York; Towada Art Center, Japan; Sonsbeek 2008, Arnhem, Holland; and the Liverpool Biennial. Saraceno’s work has been featured in solo presentations at Centre d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona; Barbican Art Gallery, London; and Portikus, Frankfurt. He has participated in exhibitions at venues such as the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Lyon Biennial; Sharjah Biennial 8, United Arab Emirates; Büro Friedrich, Berlin; de Appel, Amsterdam; São Paulo Bienal; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Museum Boijmans van Bueningen; Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art; 50th Biennale di Venezia; and Kunstverein, Frankfurt. Saraceno studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, then continued postgraduate studies in art and architecture at Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes Ernesto de la Carcova, Buenos Aires, and Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende
Kunst, Frankfurt.

Tomás Saraceno: Microscale, Macroscale, and Beyond: Large-Scale Implications of Small-Scale Experiments is curated by Elizabeth Thomas, Phyllis Wattis MATRIX curator.

Public Program
Artist’s Talk
Sunday, November 18, 3:30p.m.
Gallery 1
Reception follows
Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator Elizabeth Thomas will join Tomás Saraceno for an in-gallery discussion of his current project.

The MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis.

Additional donors to the MATRIX Program include the UAM Council MATRIX Endowment, Joachim and Nancy Bechtle, Maryellen and Frank Herringer, Noel and Penny Nellis, Paul L. Wattis III, and Iris Shimada.

Gallery Hours:
Wednesday and Friday to Sunday, 11 to 5; Thursday 11 to 7.
Closed Monday and Tuesday.

t. (510) 642-0808
f. (510) 642-4889
TDD: (510) 642-8734

Press contact
Jonathan Knapp

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University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
November 16, 2007

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