Unique inflatable sculpture to appear in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Inflatable sculpture by Michael Shaw appearing at Exeter attractions Royal Albert Memorial Museum

A striking and enormous inflatable sculpture, measuring an incredible 16 metres long by 7 metres wide, is to be exhibited at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, one of the best cultural Exeter attractions, this autumn.

Titled INF20, the 4.5m high artwork is shaped by the walls of the room it appears in, Gallery 22, taking in its high ceiling and annexe. Animated by cyclical inflation and deflation, the sculpture is not static, but instead “a living, breathing object”.

The sculpture is the vision of artist Michael Shaw, who has become renowned for his original and fun artworks. He favours creating inflatable structures as they help to convey space, translucency and transparency, and said: “The girth of INF20 means it will bulge against the walls of the architecture, as it writhes around in search of a meal.

“Its vibrant colours are reminiscent of a poisonous caterpillar or grub and will bathe the surroundings with a colourful glow.”

In the image is another example of one of Shaw’s inflatable sculptures which was exhibited in Peterborough.

Part of a larger exhibition, titled Sculpting the Museum, the sculpture, along with a number of other artworks, will be unveiled at a private event on September 16, where he will also give a talk on how he created his work. The exhibition will then be on show to the public until November 13.

Other items featured in the exhibition are based on artefacts in the museum’s collections, made from a variety of materials including metals and plastics and using processes such as laser cutting and rapid prototyping. These newly-created items will be placed alongside the existing inspirations in what will be a 21st century Cabinet of Curiosities. Speaking about the exhibition, Michael also said: “My approach brings new insights to the historic building and collections, and will engage new audiences in Exeter and the wider area with contemporary sculpture.”

This project continues as part of the success he has had with his response to other historic buildings. Among the other places he has exhibited his sculptures are London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Varna Palace in Aarhus, Denmark and Lincolnshire’s Burghley House.

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