Knickers! Giant Inflatable Zeppelin Set to Soar

10 November 2010

Toi Poneke Gallery visitors will be confronted by a large inflatable Zeppelin stitched together from lingerie from Friday 19 November as part of Shane McGrath's farewell exhibition called Fight or Flight. Shane approaches the end of his tenure as DEBLYN artist-in-residence at Toi Poneke Arts Centre.

The exhibition consists of a variety of sculptures mostly made out of natural-based materials such as wood and paper, but Shane acknowledges that the Zeppelin is likely to get most of the attention.

"It may be quite obvious to most people, but it's a light-hearted comment on the quite juvenile obsession with phallic symbols that historically dominated public sculptures and monuments.

"So, rather than pretend that isn't the case, I'm quite knowingly creating a homage to these sculptures, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek way. The Zeppelin is overblown and at a ridiculous scale - you could almost call it an anti-monument," he says.

The lingerie has a backstory too. Influenced by an early Terry Gilliam film, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Shane pays tribute to the scene where the Baron escapes an unnamed 18th century European town in a hot air balloon made out of women's undergarments.

But it's not all underwear and inflatables - the exhibit consists of numerous sculptures and for the first time in several years, Shane has taken up painting again. Some of these works also feature in the exhibition.

Shane says Toi Pōneke will not be an easy place to leave.

"Work-wise, it was great to have somewhere to go to every day, and to get working straight away after completing my masters. This residency will also increase the chances of getting more work or other residencies - the first one is always the hardest to get," he says.

This was the first time the residency - a joint venture between Toi Pōneke and property management company, DEBLYN Properties - was offered to artists. The residency includes a free ten-month lease for an artist studio as well as a solo show at Toi Pōneke Gallery at the end of the residency.

After this, Shane's taking his work to Waiheke Island for the Headland 'Sculpture in the Gulf' public art series in late January.

Fight or Flight opens at Toi Pōneke Gallery at 5.30pm on Thursday 18 November and runs until 10 December.

Toi Pōneke Gallery is located at 61 Abel Smith Street - just up the road from Real Groovy.