Step inside and wonder at gigantic, fantastical air-filled artworks at Inflatable. Spread across more than 650 hands-on interactive exhibits in the Exploratorium’s indoor and outdoor galleries, these ephemeral sculptures include otherworldly organisms by Jason Hackenwerth and Shih Chieh Huang, a forest of cushiony columns by Jimmy Kuehnle, an inflatable insect-eye room from Pneuhaus, and Amanda Parer’s monumental humanoid figures peeking around corners.
Curated by Christopher Jobson, editor of Colossal, one of the largest visual art, design, and culture blogs on the web. Colossal celebrates the work of both established and emerging artists across fine art, crafts, design, animation, photography, street art, illustration, and architecture.
Prize includes hotel, flight, and admission for two to the preview event on May 25, 2018.
- Hotel accommodations include three nights at the Hotel Zephyr at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco.
- Flights to be awarded with two $500 Visa gift cards.
- Tickets for two to exclusive preview event on Friday, May 25, 2018, including meet and greet with the artists and curator of Inflatable.
- $500 in gift certificates to The Colossal Shop & the Hyperallergic Store ($250 each)
Florida-based artist Jason Hackenwerth explores what he describes as “universal biology”—the twisting, amorphous structures shared by nearly all living things. As he twists and weaves hundreds of elongated party balloons in elaborate patterns, his enormous finished sculptures mimic nature, yet are unlike any known organism.
For Inflatable, Hackenwerth has designed Cauldron Veil. Its shape evokes the mouth of a prehistoric creature, or the egg sac of some unknown life form.
Jimmy Kuehnle’s art emphasizes the encounter, encouraging visitors to touch, squeeze, and play with soft and whimsical shapes. Ranging from absurd inflatable “suits,” to architectural augmentations, his inflated artworks engage his audiences with a playful sense of the unexpected.
For Inflatable, Kuehnle is developing an environment of giant cylinders illuminated from within. Visitors will explore them from all sides, wandering through and squeezing in between.
Pneuhaus is a design collective based in Rhode Island, whose members—Matt Muller, Augie Lehrecke, and Levi Bedall—work in the fields of temporary structures, spatial design, and contemporary art to create large, immersive environments that relate to human perception and scale.
For Inflatable, Pneuhaus will install their, a geodesic dome composed of 109 inflated spherical camera obscuras. Visitors venturing inside can interact with an inverted insect-eye view of the world outside.
Shih Chieh Huang
Taiwanese artist Shih Chieh Huang begins his artistic process with humble materials—trash bags, small fans, even pieces of garbage. He then tinkers with lights, switches, and other electronics to inflate these objects with life, making them breathe, move, and react to their environment.
For Inflatable, Huang will transform the Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio with Guardian of the Disphotic, a dim undersea realm populated by moving, glowing octopus-like creatures made from trash bags, LED lights, highlighter pen fluid, and other household objects.
Australian artist Amanda Parer’s edgy and ephemeral artworks explore the natural world, its fragility, and our role within it. In 2016, she invaded Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco with her collection of gigantic rabbits, commenting on the problem of feral rabbits in Tasmania.
For Inflatable, Parer Studio will install two human figures from a larger piece called Fantastic Planet. Inspired by the 1973 animated classic of the same title, it depicts immense but benign humanoids from an alien planet, beginning to inspect humans and our environment.
Founded by Frank Oppenheimer in 1969, the Exploratorium is a public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception. You can step inside a tornado, turn upside down in a giant curved mirror, walk on a fog bridge, or have your mind blown in a myriad of other ways. Their mission is to create inquiry-based experiences that transform learning worldwide, and their vision is a world where people think for themselves and can confidently ask questions, question answers, and understand the world around them.
Hotel Zephyr is one of the newer boutique hotels in Fisherman’s Wharf, offering 361 rooms with a shipyard chic vibe. The hotel boasts interactive indoor and outdoor space and a playful atmosphere and is the perfect place to lay your head or continue exploring after your Exploratorium adventure.
Hotel Zephyr has also extended an exclusive promotional room rate and free parking for the duration of the exhibition. Use promo code EXPLR during the exhibition (May 26–September 3, 2018).
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