Should you find yourself on the peaks of Courchevel, fret not, your eyes are not playing tricks on you; that is, indeed, a red elephant.
But it is also one of several site-specific sculptures made by the French artist Richard Orlinski, set to meet skiers as they take to the slopes this season.
Orlinski has long been passionate about bringing his art to the people – rather than trying to bring people to his art – and he saw the Alps as the perfect platform to do just this.
“In a museum, you already have to pay an entry fee, and you have to get there…while here my works are going to meet the public…so that from the youngest to the oldest – children as young as two or three years old – they can all get to see them,” he said.
Animals dominate the snowscape showcase in this exhibition, with a range of eagles, crocodiles, and gorillas all on view.
With each mold set in its own distinctly contemporary style, Orlinski is quick to note where his inspiration stems from:
“I feel pretty close to Pop Art because it is something that I grew up with, and also people like Andy Warhol, Rosenquist, Tom Wesselmann…they have all had a big influence on my work. Now, I also appreciate contemporaries like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, people who are influential today and have a presence on the international stage.”
With the onus on the accessible, Orlinski regularly uses industrial ingredients in a bid to question the fixed codes of the consumer society we live in. It was no different here, despite being up among the elements:
“In this exhibition, I used two main materials, namely aluminum…a material that is now more appreciated but before, was a material of industry. And I also used a very contemporary material, that is a petrochemical, it is resin, with all the derivatives. Then there are other derivatives that are not necessarily from petroleum…and also acrylic derivatives and a whole lot of materials which are also very contemporary, and happen to have an incredible accuracy with their level of forms and colours.”
You can see ‘Orlinski in Courchevel’ in the French resort until the 26th of April.