The Skywhale family takes flight
“The problem with balloons,” explains artist Patricia Piccinini, “is that when you see them, you know it will be a beautiful day.
“They can only go out in good weather. So if it’s really windy or it’s raining, they just aren’t going to come out. It’s not mine, it’s nature. So you have to be lucky to see them.
In Melbourne and Piccinini, luck must change with her Celestial whale Family of airborne artwork is set to make its first appearance in the city skies as part of the MPavilion, which opens Thursday in Queen Victoria Gardens.
The family, made up of its iconic inflatable sculpture Celestial whale from 2013 and its largest parental sculpture Papa whale, will not take off until March, but for Piccinini it will be a special moment.
His exhibition A constantly repeated miracle It took two years to prepare – but was only open for one day in the abandoned ballroom above Flinders Street station when it closed in June, victim of the lockdown – is open again.
“This is my biggest exhibition in Melbourne since my exhibition at ACCA in 2002… so it’s wonderful to have these two projects so close to each other in my hometown,” she says.
The cancellation of the Rising festival including the Piccinini exhibition, A constantly repeated miracle was part, was devastating for her and the 750 other artists who had contributed to the festival.
“It was really tough, especially when we were all feeling so dynamic and hopeful at this point,” she says. “Having said that, I think a lot of these projects have found new homes. My project reopened as well, so emotionally it was difficult, but we got there. “