Tomás Saraceno, From Arachnophobia to Arachnophilia, 2022
The Argentine-born and Berlin-based artist, architect, and theorist Tomás Saraceno has designed an artist’s book focused on the environmental and perceptual qualities of spiders and their webs. The atlas-sized book contains five artist-designed, hand-cut, hand-printed pop-up scenes creating a small theater of marvels.
From Arachnophobia to Arachnophilia was designed and created by Tomás Saraceno in Berlin. This limited-edition publication appears in a series of artist’s books published by the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art, New York
This volume is intended to draw attention to spiders, their webs, and our shared environment through the participatory and sculptural form of the pop-up book. The book features five pop-up scenes including a spider attached by a filament to its web; a spider and its web in a museum building, not far from a human spectator; a constellation connected to web-like threads, as cosmic arachnid architecture; an enchanted cobwebbed forest; and a layered image of diving bell spiders, beings that spend most of their lives underwater. As the planet faces the mass extinction of spiders, insects, and other invertebrates, with enormous environmental consequences, Saraceno’s project encourages new threads of connectivity to move us from arachnophobia to arachnophilia.
Edition and Sales
The book is printed in an edition of 165 signed copies.
One hundred copies are reserved for the Museum and the members of the Library Council, forty go to the artist and the collaborators, and twenty-five copies are for sale to institutions and collectors. To purchase a copy please contact May Castleberry, editor, or Megan Govin, Department Manager, MoMA Archives, Library, and Research Collections, at [email protected].
All sales benefit the Archives, Library, and Research Collections of The Museum of Modern Art.
Saraceno designed and produced this volume in collaboration with book artist Chisato Tamabayashi, in London; Studio Tomás Saraceno and the Arachnophilia community in Berlin; and May Castleberry, editor of Contemporary Editions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, who organized this publication for MoMA’s Library Council.
Tamabayashi hand-cut and machine-cut all five scenes in the book, with the help of Hisao Sato, while Hannah Tamabayashi tested each scene. Studio Tomás Saraceno managed design and production throughout the project, sewed the cobwebs on the museum page and the constellation page and designed the text pages. Four of the five pop-up scenes were printed by silkscreen by Darren van der Merwe, London as well as by Mark Stonehouse, London. Leslie Miller printed the tarot card on the cover by letterpress at the Grenfell Press, New York. Miller, with Studio Tomás Saraceno, designed the cover, which was printed by silkscreen on cloth by One-Way Screen Printing in Hadley, Mass. Mark Tomlinson bound the book by hand in Northampton, Mass. The paper cobweb and spider bookmarks were laser-cut by Ted Muehling and E.R. Butler & Co. in New York.
The volume measures 11¾ by 16½ inches (29.8 by 41.9 cm).
For the creation and production of the book, enormous gratitude is owed to the artist and to the primary contributors listed above. Special thanks also go to Studio Tomás Saraceno, Berlin, in particular Lucas Mateluna, Manuela Mazure, Jazmin Schenone, Lars Behrendt, Sarah Kisner, Claudia Meléndez, and Jillian Meyer; Tanya Bonakdar of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles; and Mariela Nagle at Mundo Azul, Berlin. For support at the Museum, special thanks go to Michelle Elligott, Chief, Archives, Library, and Research Collections; Megan Govin, Department Manager, Archives, Library, and Research Collections; Inés Katzenstein, Director, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America and Curator of Latin American Art; Glenn Lowry, Director; Gregory R. Miller and Frances Reynolds, Co-Chairs of the Library Council; and Sarah Suzuki, Associate Director.