The centerpiece (in my opinion) of Argentine sculptor Tomás Saraceno’s enthralling exhibition, Solar Rhythms at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, is not in the center at all but instead in the upstairs project room: two black-and-white HD videos, shown consecutively. Both are quite short, stark, lush, and mesmerizing. Both involve exceedingly unorthodox sculptures — inflatable, lighter than air solar sculptures—flying in far-flung places: the Salinas Grandes salt flat in Argentina and White Sands, New Mexico.
These sculptures are the fruits of Saraceno’s ongoing, collaborative, and interdisciplinary Aerocene project, dedicated to fostering, according to its website, “atmospheric and ecological consciousness,” in part by developing flying sculptures that don’t burn fossil fuels, and don’t require rare gases like helium or hydrogen. There is a visionary streak in Saraceno’s art, which posits an ethos in which we are connected with the air, not blithe polluters of it, and respectful of the sun, harnessing its awesome power for beneficial purposes, in this case, to fly.