Artist Tomás Saraceno's Cloud City, a large constellation of 16 interconnected modules composed specifically for The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, will open to the public on May 15, 2012.
Measuring 54 feet long by 29 feet wide by 28 feet high, this site-specific work, inspired by multiple phenomena and structures (including clouds, bubbles, bacteria, foam, universes, and social and neural communication networks), showcases the artist's bold and ambitious vision.
Habitat-like, incorporating transparent and reflective materials, the work will also be accessible for visitors-in limited numbers, weather permitting, by timed-ticket entry-to experience its interior realms and exterior vistas via an internal route. Set against Central Park, Manhattan's skyline, and the expanse of space above and beyond, the installation Tomás Saraceno on the Roof: Cloud City-part of the artist's series Cloud Cities/Air Port City-suggests a model for living, interaction, and social exchange. This is be the 15th consecutive single-artist installation for the Museum's Cantor Roof Garden. Cloud City is the artist's first major commission in the United States.
The exhibition is made possible by Bloomberg. Additional support is provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky, The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation, William S. Lieberman Fund, and Eugenio Lopez. Cloud City is lent by Christian Keesee.
Visitors may enter and walk through these habitat-like, modular structures grouped in a nonlinear configuration. Over the past decade, Saraceno has established a practice of constructing habitable networks based upon complex geometries and interconnectivity that merge art, architecture, and science. The multidisciplinary project "Cloud Cities/Air Port City" is rooted in the artist's investigation of expanding the ways in which we inhabit and experience our environment.
According to artist Tomás Saraceno: "Upside down, Central Park is a flying garden embedded in a cumulus cloud, mirrored buildings and skies appear under your feet, gravity seems to reorient itself, and people are multiplied in patchworks of cloudscape, forming unexpected interconnected networks…Cloud City is an invitation to perceive simultaneously a multiplicity of realities, making overlapping and multireflective connections between things, affecting and challenging our perceptions. Cloud City is a vehicle for our imagination, ready to transport us beyond social, political, and geographical states of mind."
Saraceno envisions floating or flying cities that defy traditional notions of space, time, and gravity. He challenges the boundaries of earthly living and explores the possibility of airborne habitation. The multidisciplinary project is rooted in the artist's inventive exploration of new ways of inhabiting our environment, drawing on principles of architecture and engineering, physics and chemistry, aeronautics, and the social world, inspired by sustainable visions for future communities. His projects construct interdependent spaces that emphasize the ecological character of natural environments and social spaces. Inspired by an interest in changing the way we live and experience reality, each work is an invitation to conceive of alternative ways of understanding and interacting with others. Concurrently, Saraceno appeals to the creative faculty of his viewers, involving them in situations and actions that demand their ingenuity, participation, and responsibility.
Born in Tucamán, Argentina, in 1973, Saraceno has exhibited internationally. His most recent solo exhibition, Cloud Cities, was on view at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin through January 15 of this year. His work Galaxies forming like water droplets along a spider's web filled the main hall of the central exhibition pavilion of the 2009 Venice Biennale. Also in 2009 he was awarded the Calder Prize-presented biannually to a living artist who has produced innovative work early in his or her career-and participated in the International Space University SSP09 program at NASA.Ames. The artist lives and works in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
A limited number of visitors may access the structure, weather permitting, for up to 20 minutes by obtaining timed-entry tickets. Tickets are free with Museum admission; they may only be obtained in person and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A special feature about the installation, including full guidelines for access and ticketing for the Cloud City structure, is posted on the Museum's website at www.metmuseum.org/saraceno.