I’d like to introduce to you Florentijn Hofman. A Dutch artist who is known for his intriguing and interactive installations in public spaces. You will notice from his work that he is not your average gallery exhibitor. Playing with scale is a theme for this artist. “The bigger the object, the smaller the world. It makes us all family,” he notes. He likes to take things to the extremes and really draw a crowd. Quite frankly, it would seem that the world is a huge playground in which he can choose just about any spot or material to display his installations.
My favourite is this Rubber Duck pictured above. It may look like the familiar rubber toy; a favourite to Sesame Street’s Ernie character, but don’t be fooled, there is no way this duck will fit in your bathtub. This polyester Canard de Bain was first shown in Nates, France in 2007 measuring 26m high. Hofman believes this soft, friendly Rubber Duck relieves stress. He explains that people are often sentimental upon the recollection of their childhood or anything associated with children, so he believes this installation is the perfect antidote to put a smile on people’s faces.
Weighing 6 to 10 tons, this installation takes approximately one hour to inflate. It floats in place for a month or more with the help of steel and wood pontoons. Variations of this Rubber Duck have landed on waters in São Paulo, Brazil too. Its most recent stop was in Hasselt, Belguim where it was part of Zoom-Out, an ongoing public-art project throughout the Flemish province of Limburg. The Japanese are currently the lucky ones to have the Canard de Bain appear in their water front at the Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009 which will run until the 12th of October.
You can see some more of his works below, notably Dushi, which was Hofman’s solo show at Galerie West. I absolutely love his work. If you have a chance to speak with Hofman himself, what stuffed toy or animal would you like him to super-size?