Friday, July 13, 2007

Inflation theory

Anyone who saw Michael Parekowhai’s inflatable rabbit Jim McMurtry in the foyer of the Christchurch Art Gallery knows the dominating scale inflatable sculptures can bring to even large architectural spaces. Take sculpture outdoors and achieving scale is a very different proposition. For a start, nature is really good at it. At the Middelheimmuseum in Antwerp, Paul McCarthy is exhibiting nine gigantic inflatables and a gallery full of the models and drawings that were part of their production. McCarthy maximised the scale of the already immense works by placing them in discrete areas of a large sculpture park. Framed by trees, many of which the sculptures match in height, McCarthy used the cultivated nature of the sculpture park to frame and highlight the work. And of course coming across a 30 metre high butt plug around the corner from a Henry Moore had its own special surprise value.

Images: Top, left to right, Black plug, Piggies, Daddies tomato ketchup. Bottom, White head