Temporary public art installation made during the WRECK CITY residency in Calgary AB, 2018.
Installed in what was once a french patisserie in Calgary’s SE quarter, the gutted commercial space played temporary site to Laura Hudspith’s playful installation Pink Champagne over July and August, 2018. Hudspith began her work having encountered the space in a state where architectural and material elements were laid bare and the facade of luxury exposed; marble countertops and classic checkered tile in stark contrast with artificial exposed brick, beginning to peel from its walls. With an interest in parsing the ethics of abundance, the installation played on this dichotomous space.
A large fountain commands the center of the hall and is framed by projected video from behind. The space is enshrined; gently rippling waters and soundscape produced by both video and fountain create a spa-like atmosphere. A pair of muscular legs and abdomen stand mock-heroically in a classic contrapposto pose at the fountain’s center. While their posture recalls such enduring sculptures of antiquity as Michelangelo’s David, the glycerine-cast David of this fountain slowly erodes over the course of the exhibition. Clear waters thicken to milky soap scum, obfuscating the wishing coins cast into the pool by visitors to the installation.
While contemporary David has sequestered himself to the frivolity of his personal swimming pool, other elements play on the character’s lore and humorously temper the scene. To the right of the fountain, an outstretched arm cast in the same pink glycerine raises a teal pool noodle that curves into a perfect arc in The Sling. A hand offers up a glass of champagne, fruit and pastries in Secret Weapon at the opposite corner of the space. Such personal indulgences for the bathing David are mitigated by antidotal ingredients–the french pastry offered up for consumption is topped by a miniature replica of another canonical work, The Thinker, by Rodin.