Whitestone Gallery Taipei is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of the internationally renowned artist, Florentijn Hofman (Netherlands, 1977) from 6th October to 11th November. The exhibition, “Play Around the World”, was held in Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong this May, and was much loved by the public. This is also the first time Hofman has his works displayed in an Asian gallery space. Hofman is well known for his large scale urban installations, such as Rubber Duck (2007) and Hippopothames (2014). This exhibition not only re-scales his public art installations– ‘Play Around the World’ series, but also displays his recent ‘Line’ and ‘Glass Eyes’ series, with the ‘Line’ series debuted in Hong Kong, our Taipei exhibition will also surprise the public with the newest ‘Glass Eyes’ series. This fresh body of work reveals how Hofman discovers the beauty from pure shapes and materials while exploring the ideas of scale and perspective.

Since its debut in 2007, Hofman’s Rubber Duck has literally traveled around the world, from France to Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and Hong Kong, among other stops. In 2013, Rubber Duck also visited major cities in Taiwan, namely Kaohsiung, Taoyuan and Keelung with more than 6 million people in attendance. Rubber Duck, which presents a common object rendered in an unusual size floating in the harbours of international cities, has drawn a lot of public attention. Hofman believes his over-sized sculptures in public places allow people to easily access art and experience familiar and positive emotions from their childhood regardless of their nationality or religion. Hofman aims to create works that are interactive and generates dialogue with the audience; many of his public artworks aim to bring people together.

Connectivity, social engagement and interaction with the audience are key parts of Hofman’s creative process. Whenever he does a public sculpture project, he considers the local culture, environment and materials that make people connect with that place. Hofman’s Flip Flop Monkey (São Paulo, 2010) project is a good example, using a simple material that instantly connects people of that culture and location. Together with the local students, they tied 10,000 brightly coloured flip-flops to create a 15-meter long monkey leisurely resting under a tree in the São Paulo Park.

Bringing Hofman’s international projects such as Rubber Duck and Flip Flop Monkey into a gallery space is the key idea of the “Play around the World” exhibition. By juxtaposing sculptures that were created for specific locations in the world, it brings elements from each of those places into the gallery space, connecting them and fostering interaction between them and the audience. Hofman specifically chose ceramic for the small-scale sculptures because it evokes the clean and pure shapes of the original works with a sophisticated sheen. Hosting his first gallery exhibition in Asia was also a consideration, as ceramics are an important part of the cultural heritage of the region.

In addition, a number of brand new works from the recent ‘Line’ and ‘Glass Eyes’ series will be on view. The artist created these minimalistic ‘Line’ works that depict animals, to explore the essence and beauty of form and shape. Hofman intentionally selected endangered animals as the subject matter and created the shapes much larger than life size to emphasize the humbling force of nature. The enlarged ‘Glass Eyes,’ made in Czech Republic, can reflect Hofman’s large scale animals’ soul as well as your own. The idea came from the two big cat and dog creation named ‘PETS’, specifically created for the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. For this place that welcomed everyone home, he placed two furry pet animals with shiny big eyes that remind you of your pets waiting at home, thus giving you that feeling of relaxation once you step foot inside your door. Just like ‘Line’ works, isolating a certain element, emphasizes and enhances Hofman’s constant pursue for a simplified and purified aesthetic experience.

Similar to Hofman’s public installation sculptures, his gallery exhibition — “Play around the World” is an inviting exhibition that encourages audiences to interact with the artworks. Artist will be present at the opening at 4 pm, 6th of October (Sat.), and will also give a public guided tour at 2 pm on 7th October (Sun.). Along with the exhibition, we welcome everyone to come and participate in a co-creative activity with Hofman, putting all kinds of wonderful colors on our Mini Hippopothames.

Special thanks to the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office for their support, and the sponsorship of Pickwick and Merba Premium Cookies.