Home Magazine Tomás Saraceno "On Air"

Among the many events that animated the parisian contemporary art week, the exhibition "Carte Blanche à Tomás Saraceno. On Air" deserves a separate focus. It opened October 16th at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and runs until January 6th 2019. Take the opportunity to look back with us at the best of FIAC 2018!

As the fourth chapter of the “Carte Blanche project" - which has previously welcomed Philippe Parreno (2013), Tino Sehgal (2016) and Camille Henrot (2017) to work inside the space - the Argentinian artist Saraceno (San Miguel de Tucumán, 1973) proposes "On Air", a rich exhibition curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, in which no concrete objects are exhibited but purely energies, ephemeral architectures and the invisible. This is a discourse of imaginative reflection about the tangible as a mystery, the spider as a metaphor and the human as powerRead deeper into this subject in our article about Louise Bourgeois


Tomás Saraceno, 'ON AIR' solo exhibition at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2018. Studio Tomás Saraceno © 2013.


The exhibition space is split in two by his use of light, as on the first floor there is a dark and obscure atmosphere, while in the basement, there is an explosion of white and brightness. The spectator first enters in a large room without light, everything is black and they must proceed slowly before meeting the rare lighting of the installation “Webs of At-Tent (s) ion”: a work composed of seventy-six spider webs exhibited in glassless cases, produced in Berlin and transported to Paris. The light illuminates from below the architectures created by spiders, living beings that send and receive vibrations through the wires. Still in the darkness is positioned “Sounding The Air”; a musical instrument composed of five spider strands that move and play while suspended in the air. The result is the translation of the vibrations into sound sequences, and in this way give one can listen to the voice of the air.

Tomás Saraceno stands in relation to many works gathered under the definition of "relational art". See other examples in our article dedicated to the latest installation of James Turell's in Arlberg or other protagonists of the current Land Art trend. 

The itinerary continues to reflect on the themes of air, the vibrations and spiders, as in the "Event Horizon" installations we can hear the vibrations emitted by Holocnemus pluchei, a kind of spider that lives in the Palais de Tokyo. Afterwards, “Particular Matter (s) Jam Session” allows us to understand which particles inhabit the air that we breathe, and consists of a light beam of domestic, terrestrial and cosmic particles which are recorded by a camera in real time: the data obtained are then transformed into musical notes that spread throughout the environment. 

If you are in love with Tomás Saraceno's artistic milieu, take a glance to Bruce Nauman and Chiharu Shiota artworks!

Heading downstairs, the exhibition leaves behind its dark tones to give space to its opposite; bright, white light. At the center of a large hall is “Aeroglyphs”: an installation composed of biro pens suspended from balloons that spread pigment ink from 2.5 coal particles, taken from Mumbai pollution. Another great installation in the dark is “A Thermodynamic Imaginary”: a game involving video projections of objects and people who build a landscape of ever-changing light and movements.


Tomás Saraceno, 'ON AIR' solo exhibition at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2018.


At the end, the monumental “Algo-R (H) I (Y) Thms” - presented in 2009 at the 53rd Venice Biennale (Fare Mundi by Daniel Birnbaum) - closes the series of this powerful installations. Don't miss the opportunity to have more information about the Venice Biennal 2019. According to Jean de Loisy, president of the Palais de Tokyo: Tomás Saraceno and his work embody the maxim of Goethe "beauty is a manifestation of the secret laws of nature that without this revelation would remain eternally secret".

"On Air" is a great example of a multidisciplinary project in which architecture, art and science work together; moreover, the variety of artistic languages used demonstrates the completeness and maturity of Saraceno. Alongside the great monumental works that made him famous, the artist focuses on a scientific explanation through other artistic media such as videos “White Sands” – “Tata Inti” and “Websdr The politics of solar rhythms” , or the radio sculptures as “Aerocene Explorer” and “Radio Galena” - and, again, search through windows and storyboards. Multi-Messenger Room is a room where different forms of knowledge evoked in the exhibition are exhibited, then books and treaties or exchanges of energy flows.


Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the Art World!