Inflatables have had an important place in Canadian artist Max Streicher’s work since 1989. In most of his sculptures and installations, he uses industrial fans and simple valve mechanisms to animate sewn forms with lifelike gestures. Light, paper materials (like Tyvek and more recently nylon spinnaker) have been significant to his development, specifically to his focus on movement. The near weightlessness of this material allows it to respond with surprising subtlety to the action of air within.
Inflatables are a medium of enchantment, fantasy and optimism, but things do go wrong: take the Hindenburg, for example, or Macy’s Parade balloon characters that occasionally crash into a crowd. In Streicher’s work, the distress behind the whimsy is always present. Scale is one factor. His giants, for instance, are intended to overwhelm. They are out of control. They struggle. Gasping for breath, endlessly straining to rise, these giants may portray an image of playfulness, and even resurrection for some, while for others they are distinct images of torture.
FlavorWire article by Caroline Stanley (June 2012)