SAN FRANCISCO, CA.-
From August 7 through November 8, 2009, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
(SFMOMA) will present Sensate: Bodies and Design, an exhibition of works by architects, designers, and artists that considers the influence of human bodies on the designed world. Mutant bodies, fictional bodes, body armor, animate architecture: these are among the exhibition's provocations, offering evidence of a contemporary debate around what bodies are and how they might be mirrored and met by design.
Organized by SFMOMA's Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design Henry Urbach, Sensate: Bodies and Design combines works of different media and scale from the museum's collection. Works by architects include Diller + Scofidio's Vice/Virtue (1997), a series of glass vessels that accommodate specific chemical habits; Greg Lynn's Embryologic House (1998); and Mosquito Bottleneck Project (2003) by R&Sie and Matthieu Lehanneur. Design objects include Oscar Niemeyer's Vertebrae Chair (1970); John Dickinson's Bone Cigarette Table (1977); Thom Faulders's and Anna Rainer's Undercover Table (1999); and Marcel Wanders's Airborne Snotty Vase: Pollinosis (2001). Works by artists include Aziz + Cucher's Naturalia (2000), a series of fictional medical drawings, and Andre Kertesz's Distortion photographs, a series of dysmorphic nude images made in 1933.
These works will be joined by two large-scale installations commissioned especially for this exhibition. Andrew Kudless's P_Wall (2009) covers an entire gallery wall approximately 45 feet long. Made of cast plaster, its sagging, creased surfaces replace the wall's surface with a decidedly different kind of skin. Alex Schweder's A Sac of Rooms All Day Long (2009) begins as a heap of clear vinyl on the floor, and over the course of a day, slowly inflates and changes shape. Together these works represent state-of-the-art research in experimental architecture and suggest ways to substitute traditional references to the body with approaches that admit greater complexity, nuance, and uncertainty.