Florence

Tomás Saraceno, Thermodynamic Constellation, 2020, Mylar balloons, rope. Installation view. Photo: Ela Bialkowska.

Tomás Saraceno, Thermodynamic Constellation, 2020, Mylar balloons, rope. Installation view. Photo: Ela Bialkowska.

Tomás Saraceno

Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi

Each of the nine spaces of Tomás Saraceno’s exhibition “Aria” (Air) is introduced by one of the thirty-three cards making up the artist’s Arachnomancy Cards, 2018. Previously presented at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the work is inspired by nggàm, the practice, developed by the Mambila people of Cameroon and Nigeria, of using spiders for fortune-telling. Subverting the roles of critic and curator, these cards introduce a magical element into Saraceno’s practice; the prophecy foretold by the spider and its web (an extension of its senses) guides us in our understanding of the exhibited works.

Under the aegis of Card 29, the Anarchinist, for instance, the installation Thermodynamic Constellation, 2020, occupies the building’s courtyard. Three Mylar balloons filled with air float above viewers’ heads. Anchored with ropes, however, they can neither transport us nor break free into the sky, and

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