Superblue Will Flood the World’s Art Capitals With Climate Change-Themed Immersive Art Experiences This Fall

In New York, DRIFT is bringing spectacular art simultaneously to the Shed and Pace. In London, Studio Swine gets a pop-up.

DRIFT, Dutch artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta. Photo by Teska Overbeeke, courtesy of DRIFT.

Superblue, the immersive art experience offshoot of Pace Gallery that launched its own experiential art center in Miami this May, is bringing its signature high-tech spectacles to New York and London this fall.

First, an exhibition featuring DRIFT, the Dutch artist collective run by Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, touches down at the Shed in New York’s Hudson Yards in October. On view through December, the show is called “Fragile Futures.” It will present five newly commissioned works, collectively featuring sound art, kinetic sculpture, and film.

Though Superblue—and DRIFT—are known for crowd-pleasing fun, this time around the exhibition has a mission.

“This show will be a sequence of different spaces where people see different ways of connections between nature, technology, and between the space and themselves,” Gordijn told Artnet News. “We hear through our brains that the climate is in danger. We don’t really feel it. We don’t act.… I think it’s because we became numb for our environments. The direction that we want to take people is to bring them in contact with their environment, so that they can respond to it.”

DRIFT, <em>EGO</em> at Carré, Royal Theatre Amsterdam (2021). Photo by Ossip van Duivenbode, xourtesy of DRIFT.

DRIFT, EGO at Carré, Royal Theatre Amsterdam (2021). Photo by Ossip van Duivenbode, xourtesy of DRIFT.

Organized by Superblue senior curator Kathleen Forde, the show continues the collective’s “Drifters,” a series of screenings of films that depict immense concrete blocks levitating through the streets of New York City and other locations. As the film ends, a monumental concrete monolith appears inside the physical space, floating in the air in an apparent rejection of the laws of gravity. (DRIFT emphasizes that it is not just a large balloon, but said they do not share details about the tech.)

“Fragile Futures” will also feature regular performances that bring additional additional floating blocks to the Shed’s massive four-story McCourt space, dancing in the air in a surreal display set to a soundtrack by Anohhi.

“What we would like to address is that change is actually something that is natural to us,” Gordijn added. “Although humanity has tried to block this out and build controlled environments, we are actually made to change and to constantly adapt to our environment. This is what we need to learn again, to be part of nature, to be adaptive to our space.”

DRIFT, DRIFTER at "Coded Nature," Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2018). Photo by Ronald Smits, courtesy of DRIFT.

DRIFT, DRIFTER at “Coded Nature,” Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2018). Photo by Ronald Smits, courtesy of DRIFT.

Other installations in the exhibition include Coded Coincidence, featuring shimmering lights with movements echoing the flight pattern of elm seeds on the wind, and Ego, an ever-shifting hovering mass of hair-thin illuminated threads suspended in mid-air.

“DRIFT’s practice illuminates both the tensions and interplay between our man-made, natural, and emotional processes in ways that encourage us to more deeply consider our relationship to the world around us,” Superblue co-founder and CEO Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst said in a statement.

DRIFT’s New York outing with Superblue will also coincide with a November solo show at Pace’s Chelsea flagship, featuring sculptures from the collective’s “Materialism” series.

“It’s sometimes very hard to bring the right message in a group show, in a museum,” Gordijn said. “Superblue is actually the first organization or collective that helps artists that have these bigger ideas that don’t really fit into the current systems… It’s, for us, an incredible opportunity to finally be able to show our work in the way it was meant to be.”

Smoke rings emerge from a sculpture by Studio Swine as it is unveiled at the Eden Project in Bodelva, Cornwall. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

Smoke rings emerge from a sculpture by Studio Swine as it is unveiled at the Eden Project in Bodelva, Cornwall in 2018. Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images.

Meanwhile, in London, Superblue will be presenting the work of another group known for spectacular design, the Japanese-British duo Studio Swine. The Art Newspaper reports that the pop-up will take over the end of Pace’s lease on its Burlington Gardens space in London starting in October. (The gallery itself, and its more old-fashioned art program, is moving to Hanover Square.)

Studio Swine’s site-specific multi-sensory experience, Silent Fall, also happens to be about climate change. (The title is a play on the book Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, which kicked off the environmental movement.) It consists of an artificial forest installation that emits mist bubbles, enveloping viewers. The piece is meant to recall life evolving in the ocean at the dawn of time, as well as a possible future where real forests have gone extinct.

“DRIFT: Fragile Future” presented by Superblue and the Shed will be on view at the Shed, 545 West 30th Street, New York, September 29–December 19, 2021. Drifters performances will be held October 23 and 24; November 12–14, 19–21, and 26–28; and December 3–5, and 17–19 (additional dates to be announced).

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