Heaven descended upon earth in London’s Covent Garden, when French artist Charles Pétillon created ‘Heartbeat’. He filled the grand interior of the 19th century market building with 1,00,000 white balloons, hanging delicately over the shoppers. ‘Heartbeat’ incorporates a gentle pulsating white light symbolizing the beating of a heart, which he believes stands as metaphor for Convent Garden as the beating heart of the West end of London, reconnecting its glorious past with the present day to allow visitors to re-examine its role at the heart of London’s life, giving them a completely different perspective of the building.
The creation is immensely complex and fragile at the same time. Each balloon may be separate and have its own dimensions but it is part of the elaborate web, enunciating its presence as an individual. The cloud, floating peacefully, seems to balance out the energy and hustle bustle of the market down below and the white colour of the creation seems to bring life to the area and make it more vibrant.
Pétillon, a visual artist and photographer, regularly fills abandoned spaces with white balloons in his works, aiming to change the way people look at the things they live alongside each day without really noticing them. Best known for ‘Invasions’, a series of photographs which challenge perceptions of everyday scenes by filling the likes of derelict houses, basketball courts and even cars with hundreds of white balloons, in the absence of humans, he wants to go beyond physical perception and make viewing ordinary items an emotional experience.
The reason behind his singular use of the colour white is rather mind-boggling;
The whiteness straightens the dualism, the contrast and absurdity versus the materials of the location, the conjunction of balloons’ abstracts shapes and environment’s one, allows me to create improbable, poetical objects.
Little do we ever acknowledge the beauty of things lying around us, but Charles Pétillon has seemingly done this with nothing but some plastic balls full of air and oodles of creativity!