ListenIntroduction by Nicholas BaumeMichael Sailstorfer and Tornado
This arresting sculpture is the first public commission in the United States by Berlin-based artist Michael Sailstorfer (b. Velden, Germany, 1979). It is a powerful response to the attributes of the site, for which it was conceived, and to the epic scale of New York City. Rising more than 30 feet to meet the treetops of Central Park, Tornado brings together a series of opposite terms. It combines lightness and weight, with looming black “clouds” made from inflated truck tire inner tubes that gently shift in the breeze. Its muscular steel armature zigzags from top to bottom while the ballooning rubber forms that hang in bunches from its spiraling arms are knotted together in bulging clusters. Like a tornado, which is violently powerful but also literally made of air, Sailstorfer’s towering work provides a visceral experience of sculptural form and materials in tension, massive but also vulnerable.
Tornado is the largest in a series of the artist’s sculptures that draw on rubber tires, inner tubes, and ideas of movement and velocity. Much of his work engages with natural forces and the way we perceive them through form and physical space. At the same time, there is often a hint of whimsy in Sailstorfer’s art, conjuring a sense of playfulness, backyard experimentation, and visual wit.
This exhibition is curated by Nicholas Baume.
Major support provided by the Kraus Family Foundation.
Additional funding is provided by Johann König, Berlin, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and Daniel and Brooke Neidich.
Made possible through the partnership of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris; Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe; Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin; and Central Park Conservancy President Douglas Blonsky.
Central Park, 60th Street & 5th AvenueGET DIRECTIONS
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Through the artistic transformation of everyday objects and situations, Michael Sailstorfer creates artworks dealing with the states of euphoria to disintegration. Absurdity and comedy play as important a part in his work as does the question of the space a sculpture can occupy. He works with an enormous range of different functional objects and materials—from lampposts to helicopters, cars and caravans, to the forest floor—transforming them into engrossingly disparate sculptures characterized by charm and wit.
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