Tomás Saraceno In Collaboration: Web(s) of Life

The Royal Parks Serpentine South Gallery 1 June - 10 September 2023 Free On days of higher temperatures rather than using the climate control some areas of the exhibition may close. Please check before you visit. Donate today

 

A living, collaborative and multi-species exhibition that delves into how different life forms, technologies and energy systems are connected in the climate emergency.

Tomás Saraceno is a multimedia artist whose work embraces interdisciplinarity and interconnectedness across ecosystems. Saraceno’s first UK solo exhibition invites participants to consider different forms of knowledge and non-human perspectives through a range of artworks, prompts and experiences which extend past the walls of Serpentine South, into The Royal Parks and beyond.

The exhibition draws on the artist’s ongoing research into spiders as a source of inspiration. The extraordinary architecture of their webs and their behaviours entangle us in various cultural perceptions, myths, and relationships. Visitors to Serpentine South can access nggamdu.org, a web portal for an ancient ritual of spider divination that local diviner Bollo Pierre Tadios asked Saraceno to build when he visited Somié, Cameroon in 2019. This ongoing project has been developed in collaboration with Arachnophilia, an interdisciplinary, research-driven community of humans, spiders and their webs, initiated by Saraceno.

Working with various interspecies communities and living ecosystems, including those from Salinas Grandes and Laguna de Guayatayoc (Argentina), Somié (Cameroon), Aerocene, Arachnophilia, and the Royal Parks , Saraceno encourages visitors to learn from their situated knowledge to sense bioindicators: organisms that can signal shifts in weather, climate, pollution levels, and ecological well being. The exhibition features an immersive filmic installation, which marks the continuation of a long-standing relationship between the environmental artivism community Aerocene, also founded by Saraceno, and the communities of the Salinas Grandes and Laguna de Guayatayoc basin in Jujuy, Argentina, who are fighting to protect their lands against lithium extraction, driven largely by demand for batteries which is polluting and reducing one of the ecology’s scarcest resources: water. On entering this ‘living’ and responsive exhibition, visitors are invited to voluntarily surrender their mobile phones. Web(s) of Life invites us to break from our reliance on technology and reconnect with a more responsive approach to our environment.

Across Kensington Gardens, visitors can encounter interactive sculptures that engage the park’s many species, including birds, insects, foxes, and ducks. The infrastructure of Serpentine South also shifts to acknowledge and accommodate animals, plants, and humans of all ages: equipment, installation height, doorways, and all artworks are altered to further encourage the movement of living organisms and air.

Throughout Web(s) of Life, visitors are invited to consider the distant effects of local actions, digital interactions and consumer capitalism, as Saraceno asks us to look towards future ways of living together.

KEY PRESS

The Guardian: “To reveal what happens inside Tomás Saraceno’s new show for the Serpentine Gallery is hardly a spoiler. Nothing could lessen the impact. In galleries of pitch darkness, spotlights pick out an unfolding sequence of ethereal silver visions, all of them apparently floating in mid-air.” Read More

The Times: “Tomás Saraceno in Collaboration: Web(s) of Life is a barmily charming and often beautiful exhibition from the Argentine artist.” Read More

Forbes: “It is performative, engaging, and entertaining but also urgent. It is a call to action, tasking us to confront the reality of our fragile environment, see the interconnected webs that have led to where we are now, and see our efforts and actions within this ecosystem. It also offers hope.” Read More

Time Out: “The whole show is him [Saraceno] saying that there’s another way, a better way: if we listen to indigenous communities, if we listen to spiders, we might just be able to get out of this mess.” Read More

The Art Newspaper:Web[s] of Life in Serpentine South presents a brave new model of sustainable exhibition-making that lays down the gauntlet to all those planning and programming environmentally aware shows.” Read More

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