I Wish I am Fish

I wish I am fish

Yesterday, I had one of the strangest experiences I’ve had in a while. I was recently asked by a friend at Auckland Art Gallery if I would do an illustration for the invitation to a one day sculpture event they were arranging. The work was called ‘I wish I am fish,’ and I was given just enough information about it to produce the picture above.

As this was part of the One Day Sculpture series, I was also asked if I would produce a “writer’s response” to the work, which will later be collected in a book of responses to the whole series. Curious, I agreed.

So yesterday afternoon, along with about 100 other people, I was allowed into a hangar at Auckland Airport, where a private Whisper jet was waiting, having just arrived from Sydney. On board there were 87 seats, and on each seat was a round glass fishbowl, and in each fishbowl a single comet goldfish was swimming. We were allowed onto the plane in small groups to visit the fish. Inside it was dimly lit, quiet, and peaceful. Walking down the aisle, past rows and rows of individual fish was way more bizarre and surreal than I had expected.

I went on board twice, the second time alone – escaping the noisy art crowd who were sipping their glasses of wine and catching up on gossip – and had the extraordinary feeling I was creeping into someone else’s dreams.

After a little over an hour, the plane was wheeled out to the runway, the crowd was ushered out of the hangar, and the fish took off once more into the bright blue sky.

The artist responsible for all this is Paola Pivi, an Italian now living in Alaska, whose previous work has involved alligators, a donkey, butterflies, a leopard, and dozens of white animals of all sorts. She’s giving a talk at Auckland Art Gallery this Tuesday 24th March at 5pm.

Here’s a few of the sketches I did in the hangar:


And this is a sketch of the screening later that night on a wall in Freyberg Place:

freyberg screening

One Response to “I Wish I am Fish”

  1. Chelsea says:

    Now I know what you were talking about before. Just thinking about it makes me feel uneasy, but in a good way.

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