Inflatable replicas of world landmarks defended by Hong Kong art show team after online mockery

The team behind a Hong Kong art installation of inflatables mocked online for the resemblance of one of the exhibit to gravestones has defended its decisions on how to display the works.

The “Inflatable Wonders” exhibition, part of “SummerFest@Central”, was designed to showcase five physical large-scale inflatable replicas of world-famous landmarks originally created using artificial intelligence by Armenian artist Joann.

But some have joked that the white Stonehenge installation looked like gravestones and others took aim at a Pyramids of Giza display lit in green because of its resemblance to tents used by police at crime scenes.

“I think it is rather short-sighted,” David Rule, the managing director of the “Summerfest” organiser Central Venue Management, said.

“I think that the artist’s intention was to create known icons from around the world and they were originally designed in white, so we recreated them in white.”

Rule added he was “pretty confident” that the one-month art show could attract about 100,000 visitors despite potential problems caused by the variable weather.

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Giant-sized inflatable models of The Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the Leaning Tower of Pisa on the Central harbourfront as part of “SummerFest@Central. Photo: Sam Tsang

The inflatables exhibition also includes Chile’s Easter Island Moai statues, Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza, the Leaning Tower of Pisa from Italy and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, as well as Britain’s Stonehenge.

Grace Au Shui-lin, the event’s curator, highlighted that the featured monuments were selected based on what they believed the Hong Kong public would find most special.

She said the organisers of the outdoor event, on Central’s harbourfront, also wanted a “world” theme to echo this year’s Paris Olympics.

Au added that white was used by the team because it wanted to respect the artist’s vision.

She added that different colours of lights would be used to illuminate the installations during the evening and that an image of the pyramid display lit in green that went viral was captured during a test stage.

“The colours of the light changes – if you want to capture that moment and it changes into a particular colour, we cannot help it,” she said.

Organisers said the exhibition would be closed if the Observatory issued a typhoon signal of No. 3 or higher or if there was a red or black rainstorm warning.

This year’s SummerFest, to continue the Olympics theme, will also feature a Fun Sports Gala.

Participants will be able to try their hand at a variety of emerging sports.

There will also be different sports, music, youth and parenting events for the public to take part in.

The event will run from July 5 to August 11.

Johann appears as @joooo.an on social media.

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