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The “Aria” project

From 22 February to 19 July 2020, Palazzo Strozzi is pleased to present Tomás Saraceno. Aria, a major exhibition curated by Arturo Galansino devoted to one of the world’s most original and visionary contemporary artists.

A visionary artist whose multidisciplinary practice encompasses art, social and life sciences, Tomás Saraceno creates immersive works and participatory experiences that suggest a new way of living in our world by forging connections with such non-human phenomena as spiders, dust particles and plants, which become players in his works and metaphors of the universe. As his work unfolds along a path from the courtyard to the exhibition halls of Palazzo Strozzi, Saraceno interacts with the historical context by creating an original dialogue between the Renaissance and the contemporary world – a shift from the idea of ‘man at the centre of the world’ to the concept of ‘man as part of a universe’ in which a new harmony can be sought.

The exhibition will open with Thermodynamic Constellation a major site‐specific installation for the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi. This work, comprised of large, reflective spheres, introduces Saraceno’s interest in challenging our approach to environmental issues by envisioning a future free from borders and fossil fuels; ideals moved forward by the interdiciplinary artistic community initiated by Saraceno called Aerocene. The exhibition is organized around Saraceno’s Arachnomancy Cards, a set of thirty‐three cards that celebrate the radical

interconnectedness of all things, both living and nonliving. At Palazzo Strozzi, nine of the exhibition spaces are associated with a card that act as herald composing new threads that connect seemingly disparate elements. Another room is dedicated to the complete set of thirty‐three cards. The exhibition continues from the courtyard installation onto the Piano Nobile amid large installations that allow visitors to immerse themselves in evocative settings that suggest alternative futures: Connectome, a set of suspended sculptures suggestive of the Weaire‐Phelan geometries of soap bubbles, which borrows its name from the map of neural connections in the brain ‐ the collection of pathways and synapses, the tangible record of thoughts and feelings.

The oracle of our present, past, and future, the spider and its web may be interpreted as a comprehensive metaphor for the exhibition. An extension of its cognitive system, the spider’s web allows for communication with and orientation in the greater world through vibration, its consciousness mapped along threads like the neural map of our own brain. Saraceno’s collaborations with spiders offers us a way of connecting with their world ‐ a moment of transcendence past the traditional hierarchical relationship through which we organize it