24 October 2012

Exhibit Review: Cloud City

Every summer the Metropolitan Museum of Art features a different exhibit on the roof.  I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the roof many times in the past and enjoy the fact that the sculptures on display really affect the entire roof space, which, is surprisingly small given the size of the MET itself.  The current exhibit is Cloud City by Tomas Saraceno which is one of the few sculptures that can be inhabited, bridging the gap between art and architecture.  

The sculpture is composed of a series of stacked asymmetric three-dimensional polygons, seemingly random in shape and size all stacked together.  Truth be told, they may all be the same size and shape but the arrangement gives it the random appearance of a cloud.  The surfaces vary from opaque, transparent and mirrored creating a sense of disorientation as you move around and through it.  Each of the separate volumes is bolted together but also include a series of cables tying everything together while providing an additional layer to the sculpture.  

While walking around Cloud City you see the sky, paving of the roof, the surrounding buildings and greenery of Central Park, along with people who are within it all at once in every direction.  This perspective breaks down the massing of the object before you and really makes it a part of the museum surroundings and the city as a whole.  Being inside Cloud City offers a similar experience with the added thrill of transparent floor surfaces which completes the feeling of being in the clouds.  This feeling of seeing the sky and ground next to each other wherever you look brings the entire roof garden into the clouds.  The kaleidoscope effect of the reflective and transparent surfaces is both disorientating and pleasing, you are at once taken away from and a part of the MET, Central Park, New York.  I would highly recommend visiting Cloud City while it’s still on display, until November 4 2012, to experience it for yourself.

For more information visit www.metmuseum.org or http://www.tomassaraceno.com