Giant bunnies and a spectral moon are among the large inflatable artworks that are on display at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore – as part of the Floating Utopias exhibition which looks at how inflatable objects have been used in art, architecture and social activism over the years.

The eight inflatables featured are by international names such as British artist Luke Jerram and Turkey-born artist Ahmet Ogut.

Also on display are film installations and numerous prints on paper. They shed light on the fascination with ballooning in 18th century Europe, the use of inflatables for state propaganda and social activism alike two centuries down the road, and the role they play in exploring ideas related to mobile architecture and sustainability.

One of the larger-than-life inflatables on show is Momoyo Torimitsu’s Somehow, I Don’t Feel Comfortable (2000) – featuring two grinning rabbits whose ears graze the gallery panel above. The uncanny creatures are a reference to small apartments in Japan, which have been mockingly described as “rabbit hutches”.

Then there is Museo Aero Solar, a showcase by acclaimed Argentinian artist Tomas Saraceno who is known for his aerial sculptures. It comes with a “workshop” space where visitors can cut their used plastic bags to size and help create a giant patchwork balloon. The balloon will be powered by the sun’s heat and launched at a later date.

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Momoyo’s Somehow, I Don’t Feel Comfortable (2000) features two grinning rabbits whose ears graze the gallery panel above. The creatures are a reference to small apartments in Japan, which have been mockingly described as ‘rabbit hutches’. Photo: Momoyo Torimitsu

The four-month exhibition is curated by Artur van Balen, Fabiola Bierhoff and Anna Hoetjes from the Floating Utopias Foundation, a collective that was started in Amsterdam by a group of artists and curators. It is organised by Singapore’s ArtScience Museum and the Foundation in collaboration with the neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst, a German art association.

People can also look forward to performances, workshops and guided tours.

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The Yes Men’s SurvivaBall (2016), an inflatable amoeba-looking pod suit 1.8m in diameter, supposedly ‘engineered’ to be an enclosed protection from catastrophic climate change. Photo: Luca Girardini

“Ever since the first hot-air balloon ascended into the skies in the 18th century, inflatable objects have inspired the public’s imagination, generating utopian dreams of castles in the sky, floating laboratories and cloud cities,” says Honor Harger, the ArtScience Museum’s executive director.

“This exhibition combines play, poetry and politics to explore the artistic and scientific story of inflatables … Taken together, the artworks and artefacts in the show reveal the impact inflatables continue have on our collective consciousness.” – The Straits Times/Asia News Network


Floating Utopias is on at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum till Sept 29. More info: marinabaysands.com.