Jimmy Kuenhle – Inflatable Wonderland Labyrinth of Joy

I recently was able to check out Jimmy Kuehnle’s piece, Inflatable Wonderland Labyrinth of Joy at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland, OH.  Jimmy is an artist known for making inflatable wearable forms that he wears in public spaces, and I was interested to see what inflatable setup he had created for the Sculpture Center show.

When you find the space, which is in the Euclid Avenue Gallery, you are greeted by a sign that has both a warnings and welcome tone.  “Beware of claustrophia.  Watch your step.  No horseplay.  This product was made in a factory containing nylon.  Have a great time.”  I read this as “Have fun but not too much.  This might be a tight and difficult space to get through.  If you have a problem with nylon, do not enter.  But maybe you should try it.”

Past the sign, the space is completely filled with an inflatable brightly colored “bouncy house” style structure that is made of what looks like puffy marshmallow cube shapes.  You hear the loud noise of a blower, and if you dare – you can enter into a single crack between two of the cubes, to enter the work.

I pushed my way in, and found myself surrounded by color, the sound of a blower, and fabric that was quite some work to move to get through. As I continued to push my way through yellow, blue, and pink structures I became focused on finding the walls, and getting to the other side.  The space was a bit tight at times, and the structure is not polite to let you by – you have to push.

I got through the piece, and reached the front of the gallery. I took a break, and pushed my way through again, this time going on the outer edge near the walls, which was harder to get through.

The piece is an interesting investigation of interaction, space, and perception.   The scale, color, and labyrinth of shapes provide an interesting experience that when I think back – I mostly remember the bright color of the fabric, since at times that was all that I could see.

You can read more about his work, and also what he is up to this Winter at Spaces Gallery in the Spaces World Artist Program on his blog and website.






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