Cloud Cities - Tomás Saraceno in Berlin

ATL guest writer, global gypsy & talented architecture graduate Alice Nivison experiences Tomás Saraceno’s extraordinary Cloud Cities in Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof


Established by Berlin’s Nationalgalerie director Ludwig Justi in the aftermath of the fall of the German monarchy, the Hamburger Bahnhof was one of the first state museums devoted to "living art." Originally a terminal station for Berlin’s rail system, the museum’s grand industrial hall stays true to this mantra, and until January 2012, cradles a collection of bubble biospheres, delicately strung between the spider-black ironwork of the museum and oversized dew-drop anchors.
This fantastical environment was created by 38 year old Argentinean Tomás Saraceno, whose background in Architecture, Astronomy and Art has culminated in the intricate web named Cloud Cities. In traipsing through the jungle of drip fed bubble ecologies, one’s imagination runs rampant. It is like Avatar’s Pandora, except that here, less is more. Tiny succulents live off mist in plastic spheres, suspended in giant replicas of black widow spider webs. Other bubble conglomerates hover in soapy masses empty and coated with an iridescent sheen.

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Beyond this matrix, laying in conspicuous camouflage is the ‘mother’ bubble; beached on the Banhof’s floor and pressing towards its lofty roof. Inside this moss-shrouded hub and one storey in the air you can depict people, like the buttons of a chesterfield, sinking into plastic transparency. As a button you are nestled on this giant inflatable sphere, torn between experiencing the childhood joy of jumping castles and the fear of falling through the transparent membrane onto other explorers below.

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Saraceno’s Cloud Cities is both enchanting and isolating. Exploring this installation is like discovering a new world for the first time... The limitless scope of the imagination is stimulated by this playful landscape and simultaneously unnerved by the sterile nature of this future forest, where tiny stunted plants hover all alone in isolation chambers, like museum exhibits, devoid of roots and earth.

- Words Alice Nivison, photographs Alice Nivison and Elly Chapman, all rights reserved.

Tomás Saraceno. Cloud Cities. Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin, 15 September 2011 - 15 January 2012

Link to You Tube video (not an ATL interview):
Interview with artist Tomas Saraceno on the occasion of the installation of his huge solo exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum fur Gegenwart in Berlin on You Tube.

Cloud Cities, presented by the National Museums in Berlin, has been made possible by the Verein der Freunde der Nationalgalerie and sponsored by Dornbracht Installation Projects.