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Tomás Saraceno: 14 Billions

Spiderweb-inspired art draws on science and architecture for a creepily abstract installation

by Richard Prime in Culture on 09 March 2010

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In a triumph of art, science and architecture, Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno's site-specific exhibit "14 Billion" scales a Black Widow's web up to magnificent proportions. Currently on display at Stockholm's Bonniers Konsthall, 14 Billion is an extension of the work he showed at the 2009 Venice Biennale called "Galaxy Forming along Filaments, like Droplets along the Strands of a Spider's Web."

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The Frankfurt-based artist worked in collaboration with astrophysicists, architects, engineers and spider researchers to create a stimulating series of installations with 14 Billions as the focal point. A massive undertaking, the project took two years to complete with the black rope spanning 400 cubic meters, consuming much of Bonniers Konsthall main gallery.

Saraceno's work looks to scientific study which uses the imagery and structure of spider webs to map the origin and structure of the universe. Referencing these studies, the sculptural pieces explore the delicate balance between ourselves and the earth.

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To compliment the installation, Saraceno also exhibits essays and research texts that reveal the development behind 14 Billions and other key pieces from the series, including "Garden/Air-Port-City/Iridescent" and "Cloudy House" among the 15 additional artworks.

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While deeply philosophical and laden with scientific study, Saraceno softens the academia with interaction—encouraging viewers to participate with his discoveries. Nimble visitors can explore the web installation, while children and adults alike can create their own additions to his Cloudy House.

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A fantastic exhibit—igniting the same level of curiosity which inspired it in the first place—the show remains on display through 20 June 2010.

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