Hong Kong's Newest Landmark: Florentijn Hofman's Permanent Installation

Florentijn Hofman《PLAY – Upside Down》2023, Hong Kong

Florentijn Hofman, a Dutch artist known for his giant rubber duck artwork, has been creating public art in various regions and countries. His work has been permanently exhibited in Hong Kong sinceMarch. We interviewed the artist about the huge art piece installed in a residence space in Hong Kong.

Hofman’s Artworks »

A frog that lives freely both on land and in water.

Florentijn Hofman《PLAY – Upside Down》2023, Hong Kong

Florentijn Hofman is known for creating sculptures of everyday objects and animals in larger-than-life sizes, such as the famous "Rubber Duck" seen in ports around the world. His works are characterized by their cute and approachable motifs that easily draw people into the world of art.

Florentijn Hofman《Rubber Duck》2013, Hong Kong

Recently, a new permanent installation titled "PLAY - Upside Down" has been set up in a park in Hong Kong. The piece is a huge sculpture of a brightly colored orange frog standing upside down surrounded by residential apartment towers.

ー Why did you choose a frog as the motif for your public art exhibit?

Hofman: Frogs are flexible creatures that can live both on land and in water. This duality is an interesting characteristic and is also what art should be: not easily defined. Additionally, the natural movements of a leaping and swimming frog create a sense of playfulness. Frogs have been inspiring our imagination for a long time through stories throughout history, making them a great fit for a familiar place like a park where people can interact with the artwork.

ー What was the intention behind creating an upside-down frog for the artwork?

Hofman: The reason I chose the handstand" for the artwork is that it embodies my view on art. I believe that good art should turn the viewer upside down and encourage them to see things from different angles, while also making them feel a sense of balance.

Additionally, my previous works have also inspired me. I made a frog for the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan and a piece called "A Handstand" featuring a person wearing a skeleton suit doing a handstand for the Science Museum in Amsterdam. I think those two combined and inspired this result.

Hofman’s Artworks »

《Kobe Frog》2011, Kobe(Japan) *Permanent collection of the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art in Kobe

The extraordinary within the everyday

Permanently exhibiting artworks outdoors not only allows for easy appreciation of art but also integrates the pieces with the land and location. Having experienced numerous public art installations, how does Hofman feel about his works being displayed permanently?

ー What are the key aspects of your permanent installation, "PLAY - Upside Down"?

Hofman: Because it is installed in a park, I used bright colors to make it stand out. However, since the site has an enormous influence of vertical movement, I restrained the darkness of the general tone.

ー Your giant rubber duck is a very well-known work. Can you tell us the difference between a temporary work and a permanent installation like this, and what makes art installations in Hong Kong unique?

Hofman: "PLAY - Upside Down" was custom designed for this project, so it fully showcases its uniqueness by being situated in this location.

In general, permanent works are loved across generations. Seeing the work regularly leaves a positive trace in one's brain. I think the uniqueness of art installations in Hong Kong lies in their ability to blend with the cityscape and bring joy to people's daily lives.

ー What are some of the challenges you'd like to take on in the future?

Hofman: I would like to continue making great works in public spaces and museums that surprise and make an impact through scale, shape, and use of color.

ー What do you hope the viewers will gain from viewing your works?

Hofman: I hope they will do a handstand! I want them to find a different perspective, not take things for granted, and take different actions to find balance in life.

Social engagement and mutual communication are important elements of Hofman's artwork, and he aims to bring encounters to the viewers through his universal aesthetics. Hofman's latest work in Hong Kong will become a presence that evokes new ideas and emotions in people by fusing the artwork with the local culture. Be sure not to miss "PLAY - Upside Down" when you visit Hong Kong.

Hofman’s Artworks »

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