Cosmic Jive

Last week, I saw a REALLY COOL exhibition of installations and sculptures by artist Tomás Saraceno at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. The idea of this series of artworks comes from spiders and cobwebs.

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Camera
Canon EOS 6D
Focal Length
50mm
Aperture
f/3.2
Exposure
1/40s
ISO
2000
Camera
Canon EOS 6D
Focal Length
50mm
Aperture
f/3.2
Exposure
1/40s
ISO
2000

Photo by Zhi Yang

My favorite piece is “Cosmic Jive” (Such a fantastic name). Despite of the special lights for artworks, the exhibition is set in a completely dark room. Approximately ten transparent acrylic boxes with different-scaled cobwebs interior were hang in the air, which looks so gorgeous and splendid. Inside the black universe, each of the white cobwebs seems like an independent galaxy. Maybe to a spider, the net is entire world. I think another reason of the curating of this exhibition was successful due to the use of acoustic materials of spiders.

Sounds of spiders crawling, silking and preying were magnified thousands of times in this installation. When I was step into the showroom, I felt like I was inside of a huge spider’s lair. “The aim of the work is to map worldwide complexities and possibilities by transforming the ground floor gallery space into an immersive universe. ” said by Saraceno.

Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2015
Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2015

Hybrid solitary social semi-social musical instrument Apus: built by one Nephila clavipes-six days- a small community of Stegudyphus duffori-four months-and six cyrtophora citricola sipiderlings-two weeks.

2015

spidersilk, carbon fibre sticks, glass

27 1/2 x 18 3/4 x 28 inches; 69.8 x 47.5 x 71.1 cm

“For the sound installation in particular, Saraceno worked with sound experts and the Museum of Natural History Hemiptera Research Group, Leibnitz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity at the Humboldt University, Berlin to capture the ultra low frequencies that render spider webs akin to musical instruments. The multivalent nature of the metaphor proposed by the installation probes ideas of collectivity and evolution – on micro and macro levels – in order to examine as-yet untapped potential within our society.”  – Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

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Photo by Zhi Yang

 

I like Saraceno’s work not because of its grande concern for this universe. On the contrary, I was touched by his works amplified the beauty and power of microscopic creatures. Saraceno considered nobody really cares about mosquitos and spiders because of they are so small. Nevertheless, spider lives in its fascinate 3D web of universe. How many people know about this? Also, how many people knows that a special kind of spider, Darwin’s bark spider, is able to make a strong net as large as thirty square feet of area. And, the silk of spider is widely applying to material science due to its strength is far greater than the same weight of steel. Most people are not aware of our progress in science and technology should thanks to the magic of nature.

The sculptures on the second floor were also interesting. If you stand far away from the works, all you see are just some nitrogen balloons floating in the air. As you approach these pieces, you will find alive tiny spiders in the balloons. I was startled when realizing the spider was actually vital. The curator, Leila W. Kinny, told me there is also a special balloon with a dead spider lying outside the balloon. I think the idea of setting in an spider in life but a dead one out is quite profound. Maybe the balloon is a metaphor of spider’s habitat and living space. They are comfortable and secure with the natural environment. But if they are placed in the environment with human, the horrible fact they are going to face is death, even extinction. Perhaps Tomas Saraceno is not to satire the civilization of human though these works with spider and balloons. But at least, he and his work alarmed us to revere the nature that we relied on. I believe that If we only obtain and destroy, we will end up like this spider out of the balloon.

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Photo by Meijun Lee

P.S. The exhibition will close on May 2, 2015 (This Saturday). If you do not have times for a visiting in Chelsea, maybe you can take a look on this official exhibition video from Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.  It is only five minutes long.