Artist creates clouds out of balloons for Norwich exhibition
12:00 12 May 2013
Black clouds are normally a cause for dismay but in a quirky installation in Norwich, for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, they are a source of curiosity and comedy.
Over about 10 days, more than 3,000 black balloons have been blown-up and woven together to form five black clouds that are the focal point for It’s All Up In The Air - an exhibition by artist Rhona Byrne that can be found hidden away behind Norwich Market in The Undercroft.
On entering what seems like a “secret space” under the city’s war memorial, festival-goers are confronted with the comical clouds that hover over colourful islands created out of carpets, and during the festival people can join in with an array of activities under the clouds.
The first event took place on Saturday and saw people take part in “speed moaning” - which is based on the idea of speed dating - and over the next two weeks people will be able to get involved with everything from laughter yoga to knitting to talking about fairytales.
“I just hope people really enjoy them. I hope there’s a lot of laughter under these black clouds,” said Miss Byrne, who has previously created the installation in Ireland, where she lives, and also Tasmania, New York, Melbourne and London.
“I see them as travelling clouds. They are travelling around the world and hosting these different events and happenings.”
She added: “There’s a bit of humour to the dark clouds and hopefully a lot of laughter.
“They are quite comical because they look like dark heavy clouds but actually they are made of balloons. It’s like a cartoon drawing, a squiggle over your head.”
While Miss Byrne has exhibited It’s All Up In The Air a number of times, each time the installation is specially adapted to its new space. She said she especially like The Undercroft because there was a sense of it being hidden away with lots of people discovering it for the first time.
She said: “I have tried to make the clouds as though they have arrived and are on a journey passing through Norwich and have been kind of floating through this space.”
• It’s All Up In The Air is at The Undercroft, behind Norwich Market, until Sunday, May 26. It is open daily 12pm-6pm. Entry is free.
Free events taking place under the clouds:
• Politicomics - an event with Dr Jacob Huntley and Alex Valente that will discuss just how political comics can be. Thursday, May 16th, 1pm–2pm.
• The Very Hungry Reader: Reading children’s picture books as an adult - a UEA Conversations event by Dr B J Epstein that will look at why picture books are great for adults as well as youngsters. Friday, May 17, 2pm–3pm.
• Reading of Literary Translations - staff and students from the UEA’s literary translation programme will be reading translations of texts that have never been available in English before. Friday, May 17, 4pm–5pm.
• The Ninja Knitters present The Big Knit - try out knitting or crochet on extra large needles or crochet hooks, learn new skills or just come along for knit and natter. People are asked to bring a ball of wool or an old cotton t-shirt and some needles. Saturday, May 18, 12pm-6pm.
• What’s in a Fairy Tale? - an event led by Dr Stephen Benson which looks at how fairy tales are everywhere, including in books, films, television and comics, and why people find fairy tales so fascinating. Tuesday, May 21, 2pm–3pm.
• Meet the Pastons: An Introduction to Norwich’s Best Known Medieval Family - an event with Elizabeth McDonald that looks at letters belonging to the Paston family and written between 1425 and 1495. Thursday, May 23, 2pm-3pm.
• Cloud Play, A Social Game by Lara A’Court - take part in an interactive game where you can become a silver lining hunter when faced with a black cloud where things are not always what they seem. Friday, May 24, 1pm-3pm and 4pm-6pm.
• Laughter Yoga with Lotte Mikkelsen - explore the benefits of laughter by taking part in some alternative yoga exercises under the black clouds. Saturday, May 25, 12.30pm-1.30pm.
• No booking is required to take part in these free events.
• Visit www.rhonabyrne.com