Head is a large-scale inflatable site-specific sculpture on an abandoned commercial property commissioned by Plug In, Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, for their biannual programme of public artworks (2017), which develops Eyres’ ongoing research of deadpan comedy as methodology in contemporary art practice.
The work subverts the traditional use of inflatables as an advertising gimmick through the incongruous depiction of a severed head with eyes that are off-centre, a flattened nose and pursed mouth. The building below is vacant, and the store’s sign has been covered with white vinyl to transform it into a plinth: rather than signifying a new business or sale, the head commemorates the death of a small family-run business.
Head references figurative sculpture, intersecting with Eyres’ personal narrative – she was born in Winnipeg – and the surrealism of the everyday. To manufacture the sculpture, Eyres worked with a commercial inflatable fabricator. The severed head sits pathetically on its side, through which the work creates a hybrid of deadpan humour and commercial advertising to draw attention to the vanishing landscape of failed small businesses, challenging audience perceptions of outdoor sculpture in an innovative and public-facing way. She investigates failure, and something having become misaligned by making objects that are decontextualised or estranged.
The work was visible during the festival (18 August - 4 September 2017), attended by an estimated 25,000 visitors. The placement of the installation allowed it to be viewed by members of the Winnipeg arts community, as well as international visitors and local audiences.
The project was funded by Canada Council for the Arts, Manitoba Arts Council, Winnipeg Arts Council, RBC Foundation, Johnston Group and the Government of Canada. It was reviewed by the online arts publication Hyperallergic (2 September 2017).
|Multi Component Output
|University of Dundee
|Published - 2017