This summer, the City of Brotherly Love has gotten a little more wonderful with the addition of new artistic exhibitions.
When Wonderspaces first premiered at the new Philadelphia Fashion District back in January of last year, crowds flooded to go see the art gallery’s unique installations, many of which are interactive. Months after debuting, Wonderspaces had to shut down along with a plethora of other Philly organizations due to COVID-19, but with re-openings popping up left and right, it’s now the gallery’s turn to open their doors once again with new exhibits.
Wonderspaces features works of art that aren’t just there for pretty pictures—although there are more than enough photographic opportunities—but also highlight pieces that are set to spark conversation and ultimately have visitors feel a part of the art. Probably the most eye-catching original installation out of the 16 that first called Wonderspaces home would be ‘Submergance’ by Squidsoup (a UK based open group of artists, researchers, technologists and designers), which also happens to be one of the first exhibits of art that you see upon entering. Think a room filled with twinkling lights that ultimately overtakes everywhere you look. The 8,064 individual points of light continually change color and also provides an opportunity for visitors to step right into the heart of its beauty. The experience looks pretty in pictures, but really shines when you’re there in person.
Now there are new additions that Philadelphians have been flocking to this summer to both cool down from the heat, and also heat up some creative curiosity.
“Our goal is to continuously evolve our experience and gallery. What the evolution looks like is shaped by our local Philadelphia team and it is based on the feedback we get from the community members who are attending the show each and every day,” said General Manager Jenn McCreary in a statement.”We plan to continue the evolution as we move through our second year, with additional new pieces coming later this summer and fall.”
The new exhibitions include ‘Our Top 100’ by Jody Servon, ‘Erupture’ by Nicole Banowetz, and ‘Micromonumental Mapping: The Essence of Creation’ by Limelight. All three new additions opened late last month.
The new experiences hold their own sets of meaning for the artists and visitors.
According to the release, ‘Our Top 100’ by Jody Servon is a community-built playlist consisting of songs and memories about songs shared by participants in specific cities and towns. People have shared stories of love, loss, travels, sadness, celebrations, families and more. In both physical places and through social media, Servon aims to provide opportunities for people to consider their memories, experiences, and surroundings and hopefully enhance their human experience.
For ‘Erupture’, artist Nicole Banowetz created a giant inflatable sculpture that depicts a surreal landscape of microscopic lifeforms. What this enlarged work emits for those who view it is what the artist says is calm, comforting, yet disorienting. The sculpture might look familiar, as it draws from dioramas from biology class, with large groupings of these “odd forms bursting at delicate seams”. The Denver based artist sewed the work entirely by hand, to share the vulnerability between the artist, viewer, and the installation as a whole.
“Erupture is part of a series of massive inflatable sculptures which represent microscopic lifeforms in a macroscopic way.” adds McCreary. “[Banowetz] has created an unexpectedly intimate environment for visitors to experience through sight and touch.”
Lastly, ‘Micromonumetal Mapping: The Essence of Creation’ by Limelight was originally created to be displayed on the Opéra de Lille in France for the Lille Video Mapping Festival that was set to take place in April 2020. When the pandemic hit, the festival had to be postponed so the artists decided to downscale and project it onto a 1:40 3D model of the building. The release states that, inspired by the national divinity of the Greeks’ Apollo, who has been recognized as a god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases, the Sun and light, poetry, war and death, the artwork conveys this complexity by using the symbolic and physical elements of the building.
For the summer season, Wonderspaces is currently open at the Fashion District on Wednesday through Sunday (hours vary.) For more information, visit philadelphia.wonderspaces.com