Dubbing himself an “artist of Absent Matter,” Italian sculptor Edoardo Tresoldi continues to grow and develop his technique. Through the use of wire mesh, he’s able to mold incredible installations that have found homes around the world, from Abu Dhabi to Paris. Now, he takes his majestic architectural installations to the 2018 Coachella Festival, where his enormous installation is placed against the background of California’s Colorado Desert.
Not only is Etherea Tresoldi’s largest-to-date installation, it’s the largest at Coachella, which began commissioning artists to conceive monumental artwork in 2009. With Etherea, Tresoldi has created an experience where visitors are asked to immerse themselves in ever-growing architecture. Identical in shape, the transparent “cathedrals,” grow in height from 36 feet to 54 feet to a stunning 72 feet.
Mixing elements of Neoclassical and Baroque architecture into his transparent sculptures, Etherea is at once monumental and familiar. Throughout the day, as the desert skies evolve, light filters through the wire mesh, creating a transient effect that is the hallmark of Tresoldi’s work.
Etherea will be visible over the two weekends of the 2018 Coachella Festival (April 13-15 and April 20-22). We had a chance to speak to Tresoldi about undertaking the massive project and where he’s headed from here. Read on for our exclusive interview.
What first drew you towards the use of wire mesh as a medium?
I became very confident with it during the years in which I worked as a set designer for cinema and music. Step by step, I remained fascinated by its capability to express the intangible and the ephemeral, peculiarities of what I later defined “the Absent Matter.” Thanks to a constant research over the years, I developed a personal, and fully handcrafted, technique.
Etherea is your biggest installation to date. What were the biggest challenges with creating such a large piece?
Dealing on such a large scale forced me and my staff to start working a lot in advance: Etherea required five months of planning and development. I’m really proud of my close team of professionals and friends, which I formed over the years and now have fully mastered my technique.
What was your inspiration for the work?
The boundless California skies and the immersive experience that is possible to establish with the viewers through the diaphragm of transparency. I wanted to conceive a playful and dedicated place for the contemplation of the sky. The elements that make it so variable, for example, the wind and the clouds, together with the gradual growth of the sculptures and the transparency, shape the perception of the spaces and the optical effects.
Etherea incorporates elements of classic architectural styles. How does historic architecture influence your work?
Deeply. As an Italian, classic archetypes are powerfully rooted in my imagery. The Renaissance elements and the signs of modernist culture add further layers to my background. These multiple languages converge, crossing each other, in the composition of my work.
What interests you as an artist about combining contemporary and classic elements?
The possibility to create a fully contemporary language. My research is mainly focused on the landscape and the study of its elements and, in this sense, the use of classic archetypes narrates the sacred dimension that man identifies in the natural elements. Through transparent visual and volumetric decompositions, they dialogue with the light, the atmospheric factors, and the surrounding context, projecting themselves in a contemporary dimension.
What sort of experience do you hope that Coachella visitors have when viewing Etherea?
Etherea is a really majestic work, but its transparency makes it light and evanescent. It is strongly linked to the recreational side of the festival and specifically designed for a continuous interaction with the visitors. I hope they will enjoy the transitory feeling of the spaces through the change of scale. It creates a dynamic perceptive exchange that is revealed as the memory of the previous architecture gets readjusted to the one in which you are entering.
It’s the same feeling as when you go back to a place after a long time and you remembered it being bigger or smaller than what it really is.
After such a big year, what’s next?
In June I’ll open my new headquarters in Milan, my home city. A factory where, together with my team, I will be able to follow every phase of my works, from the initial idea to the installation. It will also be a place to experiment new materials and collaborations.