Blue Star Linz, 1980

Basel 2017
Sprüth Magers
blue fabric, electric fan
Otto Piene’s mammoth inflatable sculpture Blue Star Linz is a tentacled structure nearly as high as it is wide and sprawling. Piene’s inflatables, which are rhythmically filled with air and inflated with the assistance of programmed blowers, are part of his project towards a dematerialization of sculpture. With the main medium being air, Piene looked towards a redefinition of sculpture that accompanied his other experiments with light and fire. Blue Star Linz at once resembles a multi-limbed sea creature and flowering or spiked fauna alike. Late in his career, Piene produced numerous ‘sky art’ inflatables, typically with similar pointed forms, and, in this instance, the blue flower is both a symbol of yearning in German romanticism, and also an echo of the monochrome blue used by his friend Yves Klein. Blue Star Linz was first shown in 1980 at the International Bruckner Festival, in Linz, Austria, and was accompanied by a recital of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, the ‘Romantic’. It was presented again the following year at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, its long, towering limbs inflated to their full height of 300 feet.