This month we are celebrating everything over-the-top and exaggerated so we felt it fitting to round-up our favourite artists who create artworks that are larger than life! From blown up childhood toys, to in-your-face political satire, these artists always do it big.
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen were a husband and wife team, who collaborated on a number of well-known and very impressive public art installations. Oldenburg, an American artist born in Sweden, was part of the pop art movement as a performance artist, before meeting his then to be wife, van Bruggen, who was a sculptor, art historian and critic. Together then went on to create some of the most familiar public installations in existence, before van Bruggen’s death in 2009. Oldenburg and van Bruggen are known for their enlarged replicas of everyday objects in vibrant colors and simple shapes, placed in prominent public areas. If you have visited Radisson RED in Minneapolis, you may have visited the cities’ sculpture garden and come across the iconic ‘Spoonbridge and Cherry’, or perhaps you have spotted the ‘Free Stamp’ whilst wandering around downtown Cleveland? Other famous pieces include their ‘Dropped Cone’ situated atop a shopping centre in the Neumarkt area of Cologne, their giant binoculars on Main Street in Venice, California, and their massive cartoon-like bicycle, buried in the ground (‘Bicyclette Ensevelie’) in Parc de La Vilette in Paris.
Czech sculptor, David Černý is perhaps most well known around the world for the satirical nature of his work. His politically motivated large sculptures have a way of sparking debate amongst the public, often both amusing and offending observers. Cerny’s most infamous piece, a soviet tank painted pink, was even branded as ‘hooliganism’. You may also recognize some of his other work from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, for which he created the ‘London Booster, a larger than life double decker bus with bulging mechanical arms for doing push ups. The central atrium of Lucerna Palace is also dominated by and upside down, dead horse, hanging off the ceiling, being ridden by Saint Wenceslas – a supposed sardonic take on the Saint Wenceslas statue located in the square outside. Whether you find his art distasteful, provocative, or entertaining, his in-your-face public installations certainly get tongues wagging.
Florentijn Hofman is a Dutch artist, most noted for his huge, playful installations. From giant rubber ducks, to enormous stuffed rabbits, Florentjin’s art is always large-scale and always has a unique sense of fun. The rubber duck was actually an evolving concept, with prototypes varying in size from 1 inch to the infamous 85x66x105 foot iteration, which was on display at Saint-Nazaire in France. Since 2007, the gigantic floating sculptures have been on display around the world in places such as Sao Paulo, Osaka, Auckland, Amsterdam, Sydney and Beijing. Another famous Hoffman piece, was a 13-meter giant yellow rabbit, crafted from wood, Styrofoam, and weather-resistant paper, to achieve a fluffiness effect. The piece stood outside Nicolai church in the Swedish town of Orebro for the openART biennale in 2011. Hoffman views the world as a massive playground and enjoys playing around with the idea of public space. His oversized pieces often challenge people’s perceptions of public art, but also the purpose of the spaces they sit within.
You may recognize some of Bordalo II’s work from Instagram as his unique style of art is shared constantly amongst street art fans! Living by the mantra of ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, the Portuguese street artist travels the world turning discarded and unwanted material into incredible artworks. Choosing walls as his canvas his artworks are usually of animals and creatures found in nature, blown up to huge proportions. Using a multitude of materials, the artworks often become 3 dimensional, and Bordalo incorporates the architectural features of the buildings he uses into his designs. Not only are his multidimensional pieces sustainable in the materials they use, but Bordalo hopes to raise awareness of the social and ecological challenges our planet faces too. He hopes to make people aware of the high volumes of waste and unused objects we produce, and focus people on helping preserve the planet by changing attitudes. He hopes his art will have a big impact to encourage big changes – definitely an idea Radisson RED can get on board with!
Scottish figurative sculptor, Andy Scott, has divided opinions on his over-sized figures created from galvanized steel, fiberglass and cast bronze. Inspired predominantly by equine and figurative shapes, his public pieces of art are striking in both their size and prominence. Based out of a Glasgow studio, Scott’s artworks are often placed in areas in Scotland that have experienced deprivation as part of urban regeneration projects. Often Scott’s sculptures are site specific; his work is influenced by the heavy industries many of these areas were once known for. This influence continues into the creation process as Scott combines traditional craftsmanship with modern fabrication techniques to make his art. His most significant piece of work to date is The Kelpies, a pair of huge steel horse heads, located in Falkirk, Central Scotland. The 30-meter-high, 200-ton horse-head sculptures sit in parkland designed to connect 16 communities in the area. In addition to being striking elements to the local skyline, The Kelpies are a tribute to contribution horses had in the industrial heritage of Scotland. Small scale versions of The Kelpies proved very popular when displayed in various cities around the world including Chicago and New York.