FLOATING UTOPIAS, A CHRONICLE OF SPATIAL PRESENCE INCLUDING THE WORK OF TOMÁS SARACENO
Floating Utopias presents various inflatable media at Lunds konsthall, Sweden, accompanied by an intervention in urban space. The exhibition juxtaposes historical and contemporary works and shows how inflatables may be used in artistic and activist practices: formless bundles of material are instantly transformed into voluminous and communicational artworks. It is organized by curators Artúr van Balen, Fabiola Bierhoff and Anna Hoetjes and designed in collaboration with Agustina Pascotto and Jazmin Schenone.
The exhibited works invite the audience to be playful and to claim space. They demonstrate a potential to forge communities and prompt participation. Floating Utopias indicates that inflatables could and should be used to critique the present order and create better futures.
The exhibition navigates the broad cultural history of inflatables in art, activism and architecture; their impact on collective imagination. The first manned balloon flight in the late eighteenth century shifted the general understanding of the possible, suggested new worlds and encouraged visionary utopianism.
The history of inflatables is closely intertwined with industrial development. In the 1930s, the car tire industry found a new market in giant inflatable rubber puppets. Soon these figures hovered above socialist and capitalist parades, used for propaganda and advertisement in cities across the Soviet Union and the United States. In the late 1960s, a time of global political turmoil and the promise of space travel, plastic became widely available as an affordable material and was used in pneumatic experiments. Artists, activists and architects tested new forms of performance, protest and alternative living. Recent artistic practices show how inflatables can be used as tools in activism, as an artistic material to challenge monumental spaces and political symbols, and as vehicles for rethinking our dependency on fossil fuels.
Floating Utopias foregrounds contemporary inflatable artworks, reflecting a world defined by technological advances, climate change and increasing political polarization and offering new approaches to social engagement.
Artists: Ant Farm, Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkácová, Elise Eeraerts, Eventstructure Research Group, Anna Hoetjes, Franco Mazzucchelli, Dawn Ng, Ahmet Öğüt, Tomás Saraceno, Graham Stevens, SUPERFLEX, Tools for Action, UFO, Artúr van Balen, The Yes Men