Archive: Irish Museum of Modern Art
These helium-filled balloons create striking installations

These helium-filled balloons create striking installations

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Black), Louis Vuitton Foundation
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Black), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Louis Vuitton Foundation

About Philippe Parreno

Philippe Parreno likes to work across different mediums. As a result, throughout his career that has spanned decades, he has been able to blur the lines between film, photography, documentaries, and various other types of media. He has built up an interest over the years that has allowed him to distort the established boundaries that exist between real-time and the cinematic impression of time passage.

Parreno’s speech bubbles

Speech Bubbles, created in 1997, consists of massive cartoonish 3D speech bubbles that had been trapped against the ceiling of the gallery. Unmarked and floating in the gallery space, the speech bubbles have been filled with helium to make them weightless and also enable them to congregate and drift in one area.

Interpretation

Parreno designed his Speech Bubbles to hover on the ceiling of the space that they occupied creating a massive cloud with the intention of paying less attention to the architecture and more attention to the story. This philosophy and line of thought are completely in line with Parenno’s legacy of transforming gallery and museum spaces.

Additionally, the cloud that is created by the speech bubbles helps to change the nature of the space in which they are contained. By including them in the gallery, Parenno automatically creates a high-tech environment that is almost futuristic, managing to successfully link the present with the future.

Since the bubbles are also unmarked, Parreno was inviting visitors to inject meaning into them. As you may already know, speech bubbles are used commonly in comic books and cartoons to allow words and conversations to be understood. In this sense, the bubbles are frozen and empty without words or thoughts. As such, it is up to the attendee to fill them with meaningful language and in doing so, Parreno successfully turns audiences into protagonists that have the ability to control where the conversation goes.

Influenced by Andy Warhol?

According to some critiques, Parreno was also paying homage to the Silver Clouds which was created by Andy Warhol and exhibited back in 1966 in a New York gallery. However, while Warhol’s balloons were always in silver (and not speech bubbles at all), his were designed to defy density and gravity. Parreno’s speech bubbles, on the other hand, were designed to be filled with imagination.

This post-modern perspective of contemporary art, which Parenno shares with many other successful artists such as Warhol, helps to explain why Parreno’s bubbles are an asset that introduces audiences to new ways of inhabiting and exploring the world.

Black version

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Black), Louis Vuitton Foundation, photo Marc Domage
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Black), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Louis Vuitton Foundation
Photo: Marc Domage

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Black), Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, 2017
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Black), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, 2017

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Black), Louis Vuitton Foundation, photo Marc Domage (detail)
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Black) (detail), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Louis Vuitton Foundation
Photo: Marc Domage

Blue version

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Blue), A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017, Photo Andrea Rossetti
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Blue), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017
Photo: Andrea Rossetti

Fuchsia version

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Fuchsia), Art Basel Miami Beach 2015, Esther Schipper 1
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Fuchsia), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Art Basel Miami Beach 2015, Esther Schipper

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Fuchsia), Art Basel Miami Beach 2015, Esther Schipper
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Fuchsia), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Art Basel Miami Beach 2015, Esther Schipper

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Fuchsia), Art Basel Miami Beach 2015, Esther Schipper
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Fuchsia), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Art Basel Miami Beach 2015, Esther Schipper

Gold version

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Gold), 2009, Gold Mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2010
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Gold), 2009, Gold Mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2010

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Gold), 2009, Gold Mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2010 photo Denis Mortell
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Gold), 2009, Gold Mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2010
Photo: Denis Mortell

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Gold), 2009, photo Stefanie Grätz
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Gold), 2009, Mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable
Photo: Stefanie Grätz

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Gold), A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017 Photo Andrea Rossetti
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Gold), 2009, Mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017
Photo: Andrea Rossetti

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Gold), Yuz Museum, Shanghai, 2018
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Gold), Mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, 2018

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Gold), 2009, Gold Mylar balloons, helium, Art Basel 2015
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Gold), 2009, Mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Art Basel 2015

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Gold)
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Gold), 2009, Mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Art Basel 2015

Green version

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Green), 2015, 1,500 Mylar balloons, helium, mould of balloons, certificate, 68.0 × 109.0 × 25.0 Size (cm), Hong Kong Art Basel 2016
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Green), 2015, 1,500 Mylar balloons, helium, mould of balloons, certificate, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Hong Kong Art Basel 2016

Grey version

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Grey), A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017 Photo Andrea Rossetti
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Grey), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017
Photo: Andrea Rossetti

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Grey) (foreground), 1997
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Grey) (foreground), 1997, mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable

Red version

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Red), A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Red), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Red), 2012, ten mylar balloons and red net, installation dimensions variable
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Red), 2012, ten mylar balloons and red net, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable

Silver version

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Silver), 2009, From November 5 until they fall down ..., Castello di Rivoli, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rivoli, Turin, 2010, Enea Righi Collection
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Silver), 2009, From November 5 until they fall down …, silver mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Castello di Rivoli, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rivoli, Turin, 2010, Enea Righi Collection

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Silver), 2009 (on ceiling; background) Silver Mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2009
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Silver), 2009 (on ceiling; background), Silver mylar foil (PET foil out of biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate), helium, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2009

Transparent version

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Transparent), A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017 Photo Andrea Rossetti 2
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Transparent), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017
Photo: Andrea Rossetti

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles (Transparent), A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017 Photo Andrea Rossetti 1
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles (Transparent), mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017
Photo: Andrea Rossetti

Other photos

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017 Photo Andrea Rossetti
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles, mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017
Photo: Andrea Rossetti

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017 Photo Andrea Rossetti
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles, mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017
Photo: Andrea Rossetti

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017 Photo Andrea Rossetti
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles, mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, A Time Coloured Space, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Fundação de Serralves, Porto, 2017
Photo: Andrea Rossetti

Philippe Parreno - Speech Bubbles, 1997, FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, photo Emmanuel Watteau
Philippe Parreno – Speech Bubbles, 1997, mylar balloons, helium, black ribbon, each balloon: 109 x 68 x 29 cm, dimensions variable, FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais
Photo: Emmanuel Watteau

Related works


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Out of this world: Volcanic ash pyramids fill up museums

Out of this world: Volcanic ash pyramids fill up museums

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids - Museum of Applied Arts Vienna
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids, Museum of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

Introduction

Domestication of Pyramids by Magdalena Jetelová are pyramid-sculptures, covered by volcanic ashes, and have been shown at the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Forum Kunst Rottweil and other art spaces.

Pyramids at the Viennese Museum of Applied Arts

The Viennese Museum of Applied Arts is a typical example of Ringstrasse architecture: an elegant, richly ornamented Neo-Renaissance building with an inner peristyle hall and galleries. Upon entering the building, the visitor finds himself/herself, surprisingly, in a darkened, curved space: soon he/she discovers that he/she is standing under large, slanted scaffolding. He/she instinctively walks to the right, where there is a way out. When he/she returns to the daylight, he/she finds himself/herself in the Museum hall, standing next to a thirteen-meter high tilted wall covered in red silica sand. The wall slices the inner space of the Museum diagonally across two floors, slashing razor-like through pillars and balustrades up to the ceiling. The wall, tilted at a 45° angle and with a base thirty-five meters long, is a fragment of one side of a pyramid which could continue in the exterior of the Museum building. A space on a scale which greatly exceeds the size of the host building is inserted into the museum’s interior. Despite its dimensions, it is only a fragment of a whole known to us, which in an imaginary way continues beyond the borders of the Museum building and which we can mentally reconstruct as a pyramid.

Domestication primarily stems from the fact that we can already imagine it based on the fragment we have at our disposal because we have become well acquainted with its form in our minds. On the entirely specific level, domestication—taming—can be seen in the possibility of walking around the pyramid from all sides, from the inside as well as from the outside; taking a look at its base from the gallery above, experiencing it from a perspective that people were to be denied. This, however, does not change anything about the fact that the essence of the form is mental, not physical. The entire pyramid is only realized through thought.

The intersection of the eastern archetypal monument—the pyramid—and its absolute geometry with‘humanized’ western architecture, its small details and scale, raises questions concerning the nature of our culture, whereby our stable coordinates which anchor us in the world become relative. Other pyramids have been constructed at various locations in Europe, but only in Vienna is the pyramid physically accessible both from the inside and outside; in Warsaw and Berlin the surface of the structure can be observed from the outside, which, because it is covered with volcanic ashes, evokes the feeling of a full compact mass, poured into the form of a heap. The confrontation of the eastern monument and European cultural history takes place differently each time, and yet on the same principle. The domestication of absolute architecture takes place in our minds.

Photos

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids - Museum of Applied Arts Vienna
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids, Museum of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids - Museum of Applied Arts Vienna
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids, Museum of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids, Forumkunst Rottweil, Rottweil, Germany

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids

Related works


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