Some artists, or groups of artists, move restlessly from one style to the next. Others find something that interests them—a subject, maybe, or a material or a process—and stay with it, building on or refining that idea until it becomes a sort of signature. Penique Productions, a Spanish collective, is an example of the latter, and in terms of scale and flamboyance, its signature might be second only to John Hancock’s.
Essentially, the group turns rooms into balloons. The artists have been perfecting the technique since 2007, and while the spaces they’re installed in have varied over the years, the results are largely the same. Using vibrantly colored plastic and the help of some strategically placed fans, Penique’s artists create custom bubbles that fill every inch of the spaces they occupy, hugging their contours like architectural wetsuits.
In an immediate sense, the work is totally transformative. Wrapped in bright blue plastic, a beautifully detailed atrium ends up looking like a backdrop for some sort of Target ad. But you could also say that the process reveals something totally essential about the spaces at hand. Stripped of color and texture, all that’s left is form. You get a heightened sense of size and proportion and arrangement—certainly a different way of seeing the space but not an untrue one.
Pablo Baqué, one of the group’s members, explains that part of the appeal is how universal the installations become. Everyone can get into walking around inside a building-size balloon. "We are interested in all ages [and] all reactions," he says. The group’s also curious about how its large-scale works might complement pieces by other artists. Baqué hopes, in the future, the installations can be "reappropriated and reinterpreted to create dialogue with other points of view, with other projects, with other art forms."
I think that means he wants somebody to make a really big balloon animal.
[Hat tip: Beautiful Decay]