Meet Florentijn Hofman, the man who's sent Hong Kong a little bit quackers
The 16.5-metre tall Rubber Duck that is taking up residence in Victoria Harbour next week will bring more than just love and joy to the city, says its creator. It will also change people's perspective of the iconic skyline.
"Victoria Harbour will never be the same," Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman says in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.
His theory is that when his art works "kidnap" public spaces, it changes the space around them.
"I want to interact with people. I create big works because I want people to see them. And by placing them in public spaces, they offer a different perspective for the space," Hofman says.
Hofman says he is overwhelmed by the enthusiasm the city's media has showed for his work of art over the past few weeks, including sneaking around trying to locate it.
He also spotted the social media frenzy, with a picture of his "baby", as he calls it, taking a dip going viral. But he hopes people will also go and see it.
"Go see it for real, then discuss it with your neighbours how it changes the Victoria Harbour," says the 36-year-old. "And I want readers to think about this: why are people so crazy about this Rubber Duck? This is food for thought."
The inflatable Rubber Duck, which had its first incarnation in France in 2007, has to go through numerous tests before it can be towed into Victoria Harbour on May 2.
This version is the second-largest Hofman has ever created, his largest one being a 26-metre tall duck shown in France.
Hofman said that even though Rubber Duck has travelled to arts festivals around the world, including making an appearance at the opening of the Sydney Festival at the beginning of this year, the logistics remained a challenge.
The duck is made up of 200 component pieces. The bottom of the duck is a floating stage with a diameter of 13.75 metres. Inside the duck, air pumps work around the clock to ensure it holds its shape.
Hofman is well-known for his "larger-than-life" public artworks that break the boundaries between people and the aloofness of public art spaces.
"Huge works stand out amid architecture," he said.
The artist, a father of three, has a list of inspirations: objects from different parts of the world; things found in flea markets; toys; and his children.
"Once I had my first child ... I saw their needs from a parent's perspective. It's very important to me," said the artist.