Gigantic inflatable sculptures occupy park in Hong Kong

Tam Wai – Falling into the Mundane World, 2013

Tam Wai – Falling into the Mundane World, 2013

Falling into the Mundane World, commissioned for this project, reflects Tam’s ongoing interest in working in the public realm and exploring myriad responses to specific sites and contexts. The oversized female legs and cockroach sculptures point to ubiquitous aspects of life in Hong Kong as well as underlying ills that plague contemporary society at large.

Paul McCarthy – Complex Pile

Paul McCarthy - Complex Pile

Complex Pile is a 51-foot-high, 110-foot-long, inflatable sculpture of a twisted pile of excrement. Embodying his rare ability to leverage bad taste to infiltrate the well-mannered confines of the art world, Complex Pile mocks its picturesque surroundings and pokes fun at the prudent qualities of public sculpture.

Choi Jeong HwaEmptiness is Form. Form is Emptiness, 2013

Choi Jeong Hwa - Emptiness is Form. Form is Emptiness, 2013

Departing from his usual cheery hues, Emptiness is Form. Form is Emptiness re-casts this iconic symbol of purity as something seemingly dark, or solemn. By placing the work on the future site of the park of West Kowloon Cultural District, a plot of land which cannot be said to be either wholly natural or man-made, Choi also points to hazy relationships between nature and artifice, urban and non-urban space, and to the presence, or absence, of nature within Hong Kong’s increasingly urban, often consumer-frenzied environment.

Cao FeiHouse of Treasures, 2013

Cao Fei – House of Treasures, 2013

Fascinated by places and moments in which people can bring their private imaginings to life and intersect with the public sphere, Cao has created House of Treasures, an outsize inflatable suckling pig that celebrates themes of prosperity and abundance. Part playful interactive attraction, part nod to Hong Kong’s food-obsessed culture, House of Treasures injects a space of leisure and pleasure into the West Kowloon site, while prompting visitors to ponder the meaning behind such enjoyment.

Tomás Saraceno – Poetic Cosmos of the Breath

Tomás Saraceno – Poetic Cosmos of the Breath

Inspired by the work of Dominic Michaelis, an English architect and inventor who pioneered the technology for a solar-powered hot air balloon, Poetic Cosmos of the Breath is a time-based experimental solar dome that takes flight only under certain climatic conditions. It uses deceptively simple materials — a paper-thin foil membrane accompanied by a few sandbags and a handful of participants, to produce a startlingly ethereal, shimmering effect.

Jeremy DellerSacrilege, 2012

Jeremy Deller – Sacrilege, 2012

Sacrilege, a life-size bouncy castle in the shape of Stonehenge, encapsulates Deller’s interest in the generative spirit of public participation. By recasting one of the world’s most famous existing prehistoric monuments (closed to the public since 1977) as an interactive public sculpture, he allows audiences to reacquaint themselves with history in a high-spirited and entertaining manner.

Jeremy Deller – Sacrilege, 2012

Jeremy DellerSacrilege, 2012

Inflation! is the name of a project that shows six large-scale inflatable sculptures on the site of the Park at West Kowloon Cultural District. The large-scale inflatable sculptures by Cao Fei (China), Choi Jeong Hwa (South Korea), Jeremy Deller (UK), Jiakun Architects (China), Paul McCarthy (USA), and Tam Wai Ping (Hong Kong) pose questions about the nature of public art and the ways in which audiences might engage with it. The works are on public display until 9 June 2013.

By transforming the current site into a (con)temporary sculpture park of inflatables, Inflation! attempts to consider how certain realities and preconceptions around art in public space can be altered, undermined and challenged in the context of an evolving and endlessly mutating cultural and urban landscape.

All images: AP / Getty/ unless otherwise noted.


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