Do you suffer from globophobia? A fear of inflated balloons? Yes, there are phobias for everything, even a phobia of phobias. That’s phobophobia for you… but we digress. Well, we hope you don’t have a phobia for balloons, as this would mean you may have to skip Floating Utopias at The ArtScience Museum at MBS, one of the more compact yet charming exhibitions we have visited to date, this year.
While marketed as art exhibition, Floating Utopias actually revisits examples of the use of inflatables as a device of disruption in fields like art, architecture and politics, so the work is varied in purpose and to some degree, very clear in intention – no fine art degreee to comprehend the show required! Coupled with the fact that inflatables are fun and cool objects in themselves, and are seemingly easy to relate to given that we kind of understand how they work, there should be something for everyone.
The more in-your-face things on show are art works by local artist Dawn Ng and Japanese artist Momoyo Torimitsu. Dawn’s art work will be familiar to some, with “Walter”, the large inflatable rabbit making a reappearance for 2019 here. Momoyo brings her large, happy inflated pink bunnies, ironically smiling while being jammed in the most uncomfortable and compromised of positions, a commentary on the fact that the slang in Japanese for a small cramped apartment in Japan is “Rabbit hutch”.
But it’s the culture-jamming work of The Yes Men, that really brings the weird to the show, with their strange bug-like, one-size-fits-all climate change protection suits “made” by Halliburton. (It’s not Halliburton, of course, more an elaborate prank to highlight big business and climate change.)
The grand finale of the exhibition and penultimate display is Luke Jerram’s “Museum of The Moon” (2019), commissioned specially for this show. The piece invites you to lie on deck chairs below a lit, inflated scale model of the moon. Quiet, contemplative, surreal and well worth the admission price alone!
We actually wished that Floating Utopias was a much bigger exhibition, but given the space limitations of the third floor of the ArtScience museum, the show still does, to our eyes at least, convincingly take you into an alternate reality. Coming back down to earth in the museum lift as you exit feels like a fitting end of to a transportive show about the weightless and the temporary.
Floating Utopias is now on from the 25th of May – 29th of Sep 2019.
Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Daily: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Including public holidays