NEW YORK — The continually blurring worlds of art and fashion will be unavoidable at Brookfield Place as of Sunday when seven gigantic inflated and illuminated rabbits by Amanda Parer are installed.
Born in Sydney and now based in Tasmania, the artist said Australia has become so overridden with rabbits that they are damaging other species. With that environmental problem in mind, she first created a smaller version of “Intrude” for the XX Lights Festival in 2014. The name is meant to be a metaphor for mankind’s mismanagement of the environment, Parer said. “It is a conundrum. I don’t pretend to have the answers but hopefully my work will help to start a discussion.”
Two of Parer’s nylon-sewn monumentlike sculptures will be housed in Brookfield Place’s Winter Garden and five others will be outdoors on the plaza. Her hope is that commuters, shoppers and park-goers will see the animal’s fun and furry side, as well as the installation’s underlying message of intrusion. On a lighter note, the artist likes that in other cities some have taken to dressing up and hosting “Alice in Wonderland”-themed picnics near the installation. “The rabbits are playful, but they also are a form of escapism that you might not otherwise have seen walking to the shops, going to work or just sitting in the park one afternoon having your lunch,” Parer said.
She has no qualms about showing art in such a commercial space, pointing out that that Arts Brookfield has 25 years of experience in public art projects. Regarding whether her installation may inspire other developers and shopping centers to consider their own art projects, Parer said, “I’d like to think so because at the moment people are drawn to experiential art that touches their senses.”
She took to art by watching her mother, Jenny, dabble in drawing and painting, and “annoyingly” ask her to do it again and again to observe more closely. Eventually she decided that might be a career she could pursue and she earned a degree at the Sydney College of Arts. Rabbits have been part of Australia’s landscape since the first settlers introduced them more than 200 years ago, she said. Other “Intrude” rabbits are now outside San Fransisco’s City Hall. After New York, “Intrude” will be set up in Houston May 9 to 15 before moving on to other Brookfield properties in Los Angeles from June 5 to 11, followed by two weekend stops that same month in Denver. Shows in Tipperary, Ireland, and Tasmania are also scheduled.
Next up is an immersive exhibition using iridescent phytoplankton that she is working on with MIT’s engineering and computing department that will be shown on the Cambridge, Mass., campus next spring. In October, Hong Kong’s Harbour City Gallery will present the first major exhibition of Parer’s paintings, sculpture and installation.