florentijn hofman forms floating fish from foam kick boards in wuzhen, china
florentijn hofman forms floating fish from foam kick boards in wuzhen, china florentijn hofman forms floating fish from foam kick boards in wuzhen, china
apr 07, 2016

florentijn hofman forms floating fish from foam kick boards in wuzhen, china


on the still water surrounding an old amphitheater, florentijn hofman has set an oversized ‘floating fish‘ among the picturesque landscape of wuzhen’s west scenic district. located two hours from shanghai, this ancient town in china hosts art wuzhen for three months — an exhibition of international contemporary creatives who add their work to the context of the historic urban fabric. hofman’s aquatic animal plays on the significance of fish in chinese culture, said to bring happiness and wealth.

‘floating fish’ is set on the water surrounding an old amphitheater in wuzhen
all images courtesy of studio florentijn hofman




when hofman first visited the site of the ancient amphitheater at the end of 2015, he was inspired by the unusual character of the setting, which he says ‘looks like a kind of sea-world with a dolphin or a killer whale missing that could emerge from the water at any minute.’ also, while traveling through the old water town, the dutch artist was triggered by his observation of local people feeding koi in a large pond, and by a series of sculpted reliefs depicting fish he found engraved on a wall.

the site-specific installation has been created for art wuzhen




hofman’s work often relates to its environmental context and adapts local materials or products in their making. the 15 meter-long, 7 meter-high ‘floating fish’ is comprised of 12,000 kick boards in pink, orange, and yellow — the kind children use in swimming pools and which are made in china. while the colorful foam flotation devices clearly resemble individual scales, the material also serves as a symbol for a chinese legend about a fish, which followed the yellow river and turned into a dragon.

the colorful foam floatation devices clearly resemble individual scales

the giant ‘floating fish’ is comprised of 12,000 kick boards

the foam devices used in the making of the installation are made in china

the materials also serve as a metaphor for a chinese legend about a fish that turns into a dragon

hofman’s work often relates to its context, and adapts local materials and stories in their conception


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