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[highlight1]  On The Roof ‘Cloud City’  [/highlight1]

The installation by Saraceno on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York explores the possibility of a utopian city free from the physical constraints of the ground below. Visitors may enter and walk through the cluster of habitat-like, modular structures.

Challenging traditional notions of cities in terms of space, time and most notably gravity, Cloud City, the recent installation that has landed on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York from what appears to be another planet, explores the possibility of a utopian city free from the physical constraints of the ground below, yet in constant dialogue with it. Composed of a large network of interconnected polyhedrons, the bubble-like artwork measuring 54 feet long by 29 feet wide by 28 feet high assumes a commanding position atop the Roof Garden, transporting viewers into an alter-reality.

Designed by Argentinean-born artist Tomás Saraceno, widely known for his 2009 Venice Biennale installation ‘galaxies forming along filaments, like droplets along the strands of a spider’s web’, in which he constructs an intricate web made of black elastic ropes that visitors must navigate in, through, and around; the Frankfurt-based artist’s work has always explored multiple dimensions of art, architecture and science. Trained as an architect, his fascination with all things utopic, generative, as well as cosmic has been a recurrent theme throughout his body of work. Cloud City, currently on view at the Met through November 4, is the most recent iteration of his ongoing project Cloud Cities/Air Port City (2001-present) that explores the ways in which we inhabit and experience the surrounding environment. The largest by far in the series, the installation redefines the notion of scale through the relationship between individual and environment.

The site-specific work, realized for the Museum’s annual (since 1998) single-artist installation on the Cantor Roof Garden, is one strong wind shy of floating away. Tethered to the roof of the Met’s terrace, Cloud City creates juxtaposition with the stoic city of New York while also producing a seemingly necessary dialogue with it and among the relationship between individual and environs. The artwork is both an object for consideration as much as it is a vehicle by which to view the outside world. According to the artist, “What I’m trying to do is redefine what is big and what is small – how far or how near you are, and maybe reconsider this.”

The participatory nature of the artwork, which permits viewers to enter the multi-storied object through a series of staircases, walkways and passageways that provide different vantage points to both observe and be observed. One of the strengths of this project is the multiplicative and reflective property of the structure, constructed from steel, acrylic, and polyester that enables the viewer to “perceive an alter-reality and reconsider how far or near certain things are.” This crucial relationship between individual and object helps us begin to mediate the relationship between individual and our surrounding environment.

In the design and implementation of this artwork, Saraceno not only considered the relationship between the individual on the roof deck, but also the individual in the apartment across from the roof deck just as much as the individual from the International Space Station who could see this piece from Space. “Seeing through the reflection,” Saraceno remarks, “they see us and we see them.” Creating a dialogue with both the microcosm of the City and the larger Universe, the work actively engages the observer beyond traditional social, political, and geographical states of mind. These multiple dimensions of perceivability and consequently, understanding allow for the opportunity to enlarge one’s own capability of sense more than the reality that is known, ultimately expanding the way we think. Even the name itself – Cloud City, according to Saraceno, refers to the idea of building future cities. This so-called future city that Saraceno creates is as realistic as it is idealistic in terms of how it asks individuals to reconceive their relationship between self and outside environment, whether that environment spans the size of the roof deck, the City of New York, or the larger cosmos, Saraceno so widely refers to.


Artist Tomás Saraceno (born in Tucumán, Argentina, in 1973) has created a constellation of large, interconnected modules constructed with transparent and reflective materials for the Museum’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Visitors may enter and walk through these habitat-like, modular structures grouped in a nonlinear configuration. Over the past decade, Saraceno has established a practice of constructing habitable networks based upon complex geometries and interconnectivity that merge art, architecture, and science. The interdisciplinary project “Cloud Cities/Air Port City” is rooted in the artist’s investigation of expanding the ways in which we inhabit and experience our environment.

  • Tomás Saraceno’s Cloud City will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York Roof Garden through November 4. The Met is open Tuesday through Thursday, and Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Roof Garden is closed in inclement weather. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. As always, the price of admission to the Met is “suggested.” For more information about the Met’s Roof Garden exhibition of Tomás Saraceno’s Cloud City, please see the Met’s website, here.
[highlight1]  Data  [/highlight1]

Name: On The Roof ‘Cloud City’
Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY 10028, United States
Dimensions: 54 feet long by 29 feet wide by 28 feet high assumes
Year: 2012

[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Artist: Tomas Saraceno, Tucumán, Argentina
Additional support: Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky, The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation, William S. Lieberman Fund, and Eugenio Lopez.
Text Description: © Courtesy of Tomas Saraceno, abitare
Images: © Tomas Saraceno

[highlight1]  Video  [/highlight1]
[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]

[map:https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=208513009578745261626.0004c7d2f5fe6b35fe521&msa=0&ll=40.779177,-73.964167&spn=0.020538,0.045447_map 450 325]

pixy On The Roof 'Cloud City' / Tomas Saraceno

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