Fortunately it does not take much to impress a child, but even as a precocious and tantrum-prone 7 year-old I still recall being especially swayed by balloons – the magician with a balloon animal up his sleeve and under his bottomless top hat being the guest de rigeur for any pre double-digits party. Unsurprisingly this fascination still lingers and I secretly long for the night-out when I leave accompanied by a balloon ball-run (one of my childhood highlights) or a helium-filled bird of paradise. However, in the meantime, Jason Hackenwerth’s artwork is the next best thing.
Jason Hackenwerth creates balloon sculptures – installations that veer more on the sculptural side than your typical kid’s leaving gift, with the result that visitors perform a double take when they recognise the artwork’s rubber composition. Created using hundreds of balloons, Jason’s sculptures are produced as intuitive responses to each of the spaces that they occupy (predominantly the airy white-walled interiors of the NY art scene). These huge organic objects (sometimes recognisable as strange animals or insects – although your guess is as good as mine) then gradually deflate – in a sense adding to the feeling that you are watching an explosion or unworldly experience in slow motion, or being transported into a pirate edition of Monsters Inc. Ultimately, I love the imagination behind his work as well as his lung-bursting and finger-squeaking balloon dexterity. However, like most wonderful things in life, Jason’s work does not last and, to end on an unfortunate Sunday-night downer, their temporary colour and vivacity only seeks to underline the transcience of our own lives. In other words, appreciate before it all goes “pop”.