Bounce Your Way Through the Summer with These 5 Inflatable Installations

From bunnies to cavernous chambers, blown-up plastic is having a moment.

Momoyo Torimitsu, Somehow I don't feel comfortable. Courtesy the artist.

The summer has already started with a pop thanks to Benton Museum of Art‘s latest exhibition “Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art.” Featuring everything from giant blow-up bunnies to inflatable reclining Buddhas, the exhibition explores the proliferation of inflatable works in the contemporary art scene in a playful array of figurative, conceptual, and even abstract forms.

Even though the exhibition is coming to a close on July 31, the art world keeps bouncing on this summer when it comes to inflatable art. Here are five noteworthy pieces of inflatable art to celebrate the summer season.

Oscar Oiwa, Oiwa Island 2 courtesy of the Setouchi Triennale 2016.

Oscar Oiwa, Oiwa Island 2. Courtesy of the Setouchi Triennale 2016.

1. Oiwa Island 2 by Oscar Oiwa
Oiwa Island 2 is Oscar Oiwa’s piece for the 2016 Setouchi Triennale in Japan. The installation features a giant air dome measuring around 6 meters in radius. The inside of the dome is decorated with illustrations of the Setouchi landscape, designed to unfold in a panorama-style display. The alien-looking dome, which you can enter through a painted door (which turns out to be an actual door) on the side, is installed inside an old soy sauce storehouse.

The 2016 Setouchi Triennale will be on view throughout the 12 islands of the Seto Inland Sea + Takamatsu and Uno until September 4, 2016 for its Summer Session and from October 4- November 6, 2016 for its Autumn Session.

SKUM by BIG at Roskilde Music Festival as the Tuborg Bar. Photo by Jasper Palermo courtesy of CHART Art Fair.

SKUM by BIG at Roskilde Music Festival as the Tuborg Bar. Photo Jasper Palermo, courtesy of CHART Art Fair.

2. SKUM by Bjarke Ingels Group
For the fourth edition of CHART Art Fair in Copehagen, Bjarke Ingels Group will bring their inflatable pavilion SKUM (which means “foam” in Danish), which has previously been exhibited at Roskilde Music Festival as a bar and will continue its journey to ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Aarhus to be part of their European Culture Capital program in 2017 after leaving CHART. During this art fair, the bouncy-castle pavilion will be installed in the baroque courtyard of Kunsthal Charlottenborg, creating a playful juxtaposition that aims to encourage interaction and dialogue among visitors.

CHART Art Fair will take place at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copehagen, from August 26-28, 2016.

Katena by Architects of Air courtesy of Architects of Air Facebook page.

Katena by Architects of Air. Photo via Architects of Air’s Facebook page.

3. Katena by Architects of Air
Katena is the incredible art installation following a series of inflatable “illuminariums” created by Architects of Air, which will be on view at Ireland’s Kilkenny Arts Festival. The main dome resembles a Hindu Temple and connects several chambers that can be explored. The installation takes its name from the phenomenon known as “catenary curve,” which refers to the shape a chain assumes when suspended between two points. While this is an architectural form assumed by several celebrated buildings, including Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, you can now see it take shape in a mesmerizing inflatable form.

Kilkenny Arts Festival will take place in Kilkenny, Ireland from August 5- 14, 2016.

Kimmy Kuehnle, Tongue in Cheek courtesy of the Hudson River Museum.

Jimmy Kuehnle, Tongue in Cheek. Courtesy of the Hudson River Museum.

4. Tongue in Cheek by Jimmy Kuehnle
Known for using his site-specific installation to activate spaces around them, Jimmy Kuehnle has brought his talent to the Hudson River Museum this summer with his new installation Tongue in Cheek. The piece features red, inflatable shapes mushrooming unexpectedly out of the museum’s limestone Victorian home and its Brutalist concrete spaces. This surreal installation marks the first large-scale solo exhibition of the artist in New York.

“Tongue in Cheek: The Inflatable Art of Jimmy Kuehnle” is on view at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York until September 18, 2016.

Amanda Parer, Intrude courtesy of the artist's website.

Amanda Parer, Intrude. Courtesy of the artist’s website.

5. Intrude by Amanda Parer
Australian artist Amanda Parer has created a series of 7 meter-high white inflatable rabbits, which also happen to light up at night. The rabbits are traveling all summer and into the fall, appearing at several festivals worldwide. The rabbits attempt to contrast the “cute animal image” of our childhood with their presence as pests in the artist’s native Australia, where they bring continuous ecological destruction, according to the artist’s website.

The traveling bunnies of “Intrude” will be on view at: Liverpool Street Festival in Australia on August 13, 2016; Lumina Festival in Portugal from September 9- 11, 2016; Electric Daisy in Las Vegas from September 23- 25, 2016; Maintenant in France from October 7- 16, 2016; Penrith River Festival in Australia from November 4- 5, 2016.

“BLOW UP: Inflatable Contemporary Art” curated by Carrie Lederer at Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA, is a traveling exhibition and will be on view at Elmhurst Art Museum, IL from September 1- November 27, 2016, at Muskegon Museum of Art, MI from March 1- April 30, 2017, and at Loveland Museum, CO from June 1- August 20, 2017. 


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