ARIA: Tomás Saraceno at Palazzo Strozzi

Florence is the place where Leonardo da Vinci, 500 years ago, planned to fly using machines of his own invention. And it is precisely here that Tomás Saraceno decided to bring his flying spheres today, "aerosolar" balloons capable of flying without the use of fossil fuels, but only thanks to the energy of air heated by the sun.

The new exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi, entitled ARIA, opens with Thermodynamic Constellation, three huge spheres made of mirroring surface, held suspended in the courtyard by intertwined threads. We also find them within the exhibition, along with other suspended structures: everything hangs from the ceiling, floats in midair, is held up by skillfully knotted wires; since it is precisely the air, the fil rouge running through the rooms of this exhibition.

The air space is still unexplored territory, which men have always tried to conquer. Saraceno is convinced we can make it one day, and defines Aerocene this new era that is to follow the Anthropocene, projected towards new technologies and an sustainable future.


The visionary and scientific approach, adopted by Saraceno in conceiving his works, inevitably pushes him to turn towards the world of nature. In particular, his fascination with spiders led him to create real spider-web sculptures, in the realization of which the artist and the spider actively collaborate.

Spider silk is used in new ways each time: it becomes sculpture, it becomes a musical instrument, it is analyzed and scanned with the aid of a laser instrumentation patented by the artist, looking like a moving painting with a psychedelic flavor.

The exhibition is an immersive experience, which is primarly done in the dark, like spiders who do not have a good vision but rely on their web – physical extension of their senses - to tell them where the prey is. 

Saraceno wants us to connect with the world around us and take back our future. First of all, we need to visualize it and somehow try to predict it. The artist helps us achieve this with his interactive work entitled Arachnomancy Cards: a set of divination cards, that take inspiration form the reading of the future based on the movements of spiders, practiced by a tribe in Cameroon.

There are many curious things in this Saraceno exhibition, that ignite the visitors’ imagination, intrigue them, that have them dreaming. 

In a historical moment where the environmental situation becomes increasingly worrying, Tomás Saraceno proposes new solutions, he brings us to imagine a world in which it will be possible to inhabit the air, in which we will be able to use clean energies and in which we will finally be able to understand how we are all connected - as if by a thin spider web - within this universe. 


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