“Etherea” is the site-specific installation conceived by Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi for California’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, one of the world’s most anticipated and important music events, a must-see attraction taking place over two consecutive weekends on April 13-15 and 20-22 in Indio, California.
The Italian artist, known for his majestic wire mesh sculptures exhibited worldwide, has been named by Forbes as one of the 30 most influential European artists.
Tresoldi’s biggest artwork to date is also the largest of the Californian festival, which has been commissioning international artists to conceive monumental works for its vast campgrounds since 2009. The Arts Section is a unique and increasingly crucial platform of contemporary visual arts within Coachella, which sees the likes of Beyoncé, Eminem, The Weeknd, David Byrne, alt-J and Fleet Foxes perform on its stages this year.
Tresoldi’s research, focused on the experiential perception of the space and the relationship with the landscape’s elements, moves ahead with a significant change of scale. The installation consists of three transparent sculptures inspired by Neoclassical and Baroque architecture, all with identical shapes but different sizes, positioned on an axis and measuring 36, 54 and 72 feet in height, respectively.
“Etherea” follows a growing experiential path where architecture becomes a tool and place for contemplation, a dedicated space where the sky and clouds are narrated through the language of classical architecture. Thanks to the transparent wire mesh, an optical effect made of perspectives and dimensional relationships is generated by the passage through the three sculptures and measuring scales, which either amplifies or reduces the distance between man and sky.
If, quoting Christian Norberg-Schulz, “the sky is as large as the space from which it is seen”, then, when architecture expands itself, that same sky will appear ever more distant and the observer will feel like they are shrinking, liberating more space to contemplate the clouds.
The transparency of the Absent Matter, unique to Tresoldi’s poetics and expressed through the wire mesh, filters, influences, and incorporates the space. The empty architectures of “Etherea” breathe through the clouds and the wind, permeated with California’s endless landscapes.
The installation plays ironically on the dualism between the pure and the filtered experiences that intertwine with one another, to eventually leave the man at the center of it all. With the passage from a macro-reality to a restricted one, the human body becomes a key to read, discover, measure and experience reality, just like architecture itself. An analogy between man, architecture and their surroundings is ultimately established.
Linked to the recreational side of the festival and specifically designed for a continuous interaction with the audience, “Etherea” is an ephemeral public artwork within Coachella’s large temporary city. It is the ideal dimension for Tresoldi to continue his sculptural narration of the ephemeral as a long-awaited suspended reality, as an entity that transforms all of its elements into an event, resulting in a public space that disappears once the event itself is over.
As a temporary place, Coachella finds its embodiment in “Etherea”, an artwork designed around the idea of the highest expression of the transient, the clouds, authors of passing architectures that transfer the majestic sky into ephemeral domes.
all images © Roberto Conte