Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Tomás Saraceno
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
25.09.19 | 01.12.19
Curated by Stefanie Hessler, director of the Kunsthall Trondheim in Norway, Más-que-humanas was an invitation to reflect on issues like human and non-human technologies, Anthropocene culture, our own intelligence and the intelligence of other species through a group of works by Tomás Saraceno (San Miguel de Tucumán, 1973) and a video installation by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (Strasbourg, 1965).
The Argentine artist exhibited, along with other recent works, the installation ¿Cómo atrapar el universo en una telaraña? (How to Trap the Universe in a Spider Web, 2018), which forms part of his studies of spider webs as, the museum explains, “complex structures like small universes greater than many human-made constructions.” Saraceno amplifies the vibrations produced by the small animals as if they were musical instruments, thus making them audible for humans, while also exhibiting the spider webs—tangled floating landscapes “that create sensorial and living connections through ecosystems, resonating between visitors to create fuller awareness of the unheard and unheeded voices all around us.” Here, as in many other projects, the artist’s research involved arachnologists, entomologists, ethologists, and geographers to explore arachnid architecture’s complex forms. Projects like Aerocene investigated means of transportation that do not require fossil fuels.
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster draws inspiration from modernism, architecture, literature, and film. Her focus, though, is less on narrative than on the pleasure produced by the image’s atmosphere. In the holographic illusion OPERA (QM.15) (2016), the artist appears as singer Maria Callas, lip-synching some of her most famous arias. Her haunting figure projected in a dark space is like a ghostly apparition of Callas. The work forms part of a series in which Gonzalez-Foerster adopts the identity of famous deceased figures, from Marilyn Monroe to Sarah Bernhardt. Because it draws on the history of photography, early film, and the supernatural, her art is—according to the artist herself—“a kind of séance.”
In Más-que-humanas, the curator ties spiders’ ability to perceive and interpret vibrations to opera singers’ vocal cords and how they produce experiences that move audiences: “The patterns of the spider’s web bear a resemblance to the mathematical figures of music. Both are full of sensuality—the silky elasticity of the web, which responds to its surroundings through vibrations, and the singer’s vocal eruptions, which quiver in the listener’s body. (…) Both invite us to become attuned to our surroundings and to sense that which goes beyond the retinal, beyond that which can be seen.”
Más-que-humanas is the third exhibition of contemporary art that the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza has held in the framework of an agreement with the foundation Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21).
Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art.