The Fickle Nature of Bubbles, Spheres, and Inflatable Structures
Nov 23, 2003 - Feb 15, 2004
In the last few years, a growing number of artists has turned to malleable, transparent materials, often bubble-shaped and inflatable. The exhibition Thin Skin proposes that these literally and metaphorically thin-skinned art works reflect a new spatial sensibility: In our mediated environment, we move in spaces that are neither real nor completely virtual, over which we have only partial control. Simultaneously, recent advances in medical and communications technology have expanded our body’s capability to function as a permeable sensor, transcending many limitations of its physical shell. By definition, the bubble lacks solidity, permanence, and reality. The bubble and its various spin-offs have therefore been chosen by many artists in this exhibition to investigate the borders and connections between different entities—what makes something distinct and separate from the thing or situation next to it, what separates the outside from the inside, where and how exchanges take place.
Several of the artists in Thin Skin employ the sphere, the circle or the globe to suggest realities different from our own. Others use breath and breathing to indicate the connectiveness between us all. Yet others offer scenarios where the visitor is invited to playfully manipulate inflated shapes or balls, alas, of little consequence in the “real” world. A few historic works are interspersed as markers. Common to all of the artists’ endeavors is the fickle nature of their undertaking: What exists one minute might collapse the next. The exhibition itself is conceived as a sort of transient bubble, a temporary construct: The viewer has entered it through the zone of inflatable columns created by artist Lee Boroson.
Thin Skin: The Fickle Nature of Bubbles, Spheres, and Inflatable Structures is a traveling exhibition organized and circulated by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition was co-curated by Barbara Clausen and Carin Kuoni. The exhibition, tour, and catalogue have been made possible, in part, by grants from Gerrit L. and Suydam R. Lansing; the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V., Stuttgart; and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cultural & Scientific Relations Division, and Consulate General of Israel in New York.