artist / participant


press release

Karlskirche Contemporary Arts
Aerocene by Tomás Saraceno at Vienna’s Karlskirche From 13 November 2018 to November 2019

A premiere at Vienna’s Karlskirche: magnificent baroque building to provide settingfor contemporary art installation Aerocene by Tomás Saraceno
Over the next twelve months an attraction of a very special kind awaits visitors toVienna’s baroque Karlskirche [St Charles Church] on Karlsplatz. From Tuesday, 13 November 2018, two giant spherical sculptures – specifically two air-filled spheres with a diameter of over 10 m and 7 m respectively – will be floating within the cupola of this magnificent baroque building. The installation Aerocene by Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno is the first project by a contemporary artist to feature as part of Karlskirche Contemporary Arts, a programme launched in 2018. This new programme is organised and financed entirely through private means and intends to connect the baroque church building with contemporary art in a way that is unique worldwide.

Karlskirche attracts 200,000 visitors a year
With just under 200,000 tourist visitors a year the Karlskirche is a hugely popular landmark and one of the most visited sights in Vienna. Inside the church a panoramic lift affords visitors a unique vantage point from which to admire the world-famous ceiling fresco and views of the city centre of Vienna itself. The installation Aerocene is certain to offer visitors a very special experience of this baroque interior. Curator Moritz Stipsicz: ‘Showcasing contemporary art in an actively used sacred space of this importance and scale and in this particular form is quite unique in Austria. In Tomás Saraceno we have managed to win over a world-famous artist for this first ever project as part of our Karlskirche Contemporary Arts programme.’

Aerocene – First project after an international selection process of several years
Aerocene was selected from a multitude of submissions by international renowned artists invited to take part in the programme, as part of a process that lasted several years. Key aspects in the selection of this particular project and future ones include the reference to the unique baroque architecture of the Karlskirche, considering its ongoing liturgical use and function as a vibrant sacred space, as well as the technical feasibility within the context of the protection of the historical building. Father Martin Pastrnak, Karlskirche Rector: ‘Not only is the Karlskirche one of the most significant churches in Vienna, it is also a paragon of sacred baroque architecture in Europe. The project opens our church up to a dialogue withoutstanding contemporary artists, and we are delighted that this unusual presentation will also attract visitors, who would otherwise not visit a church.’

Aerocene is an interdisciplinary project initiated by Tomás Saraceno in 2015 and developed in collaboration with numerous scientists, experts and communities from all over the world. The floating spherical sculptures are able to ascend into theatmosphere and cover vast distances inflated only by air, lifted only by the Sun andcarried only by the wind. Aerocene is an open platform, always in active development,with sculptures of various sizes being constantly tested, both indoors and out, by the global community.

Beyond future and potentially utopian applications – such as the exploration of the Earth and its atmosphere, transport and locomotion, and perhaps even the settlement of the skies – Aerocene is above all a symbol of the symbiotic ties that exist between both human, and more-than-human, life and the environment and spaces we coinhabit, challenging our conception of the skies and moving our imaginations towards a futuristic view of new attunements between life on the planet and the Earth system.