Brian Wondergem spent two months in Zagreb working with Art in General partner organization HDLU to create public art installations in keeping with his practice for playful interventions in the social sphere. Wondergem’s final project was a series of seven sculptural works entitled Picnic that were displayed during a one day event on May 29, 2010.
The works Wondergem produced commented on the artists’ American upbringing, but were also intuitive responses to the outdoor objects and furniture the artist saw throughout the city and on day trips to the outskirts of Zagreb. Croatian audiences could relate to the work though they were continuing the American impressions prevalent in Wondergem’s existing body of work. Among the sculptural works was a swing set filled with logs, an umbrella entwined with branches, an oversized keyboard, a coat rack holding an open umbrella, a hammock supported by trellises growing from plant pots, patio chairs covered in VHS tape, and a hammock carrying a rubber ball.
In addition to the installation of these sculptures, a literal picnic took place during the day, which included a picnic lunch and dinner on the lawn of the Mestrovich Pavilion from 10 in the morning to 10 at night. The idea of a picnic initially came to Wondergem in relation to some works with checked patterns and tablecloths that he had been inspired by, but also out of conversations about the Croatian picnic tradition with his HDLU mentor, curator Branko Franceschi. What resulted was a compelling, interactive, and social event for the community, with foods traditional to a Croatian picnic that linked Wondergem’s practice and American ideals to Croatian culture. Over 100 people attended the event including many people the artist had met during his two month stay in Zagreb.
Brian Wondergem was born in Johnson City, TN and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated in 2004 from Yale School of Art. Over the past six years, he has exhibited in various shows around the New York area. He participated in the 2007 Emerging Artist Fellowship show at Socrates Sculpture Park, the Peekskill Project 2008, as well as in shows with ABC No Rio, Apartment Show, and Gallery Aferro. For more information, visit http://www.brianwondergem.com/