The irony in altering a massive, steel, weapon of warfare into a 10 meter long, brightly colored childish delight of balloons is obvious, as is the other factor in this work- the ephemeral quality of its materials. It is constructed with latex balloons, air, and glue, which over a period of hours and days deflate, shrivel, and shrink into a rainbow puddle on the floor. Designed by German artist Hans Hemmert in 2007, it is simply titled german panther, and is a scale replica of the German Panther tanks used in WWI and WWII. I also found it interesting while researching this piece that inflatable decoys are routinely used as a war tactic and have been since WWII (I have attached a picture of those as well) and perhaps they are just as much of a caricature as Hemmert’s work of art- despite the functionality of their designed purpose. It was difficult to find much about this particular work, but there was a one-line statement provided by the artist. Translated by my friend Anne Petters- she says it means “the preparation of being prepared to stay open for the arrival, or non-arrival, of God.”
I did not chose this for its war/ anti-war message that makes up the subject matter of this work, I just loved the juxtaposition of the materials versus the object matter depicted in this piece. It allows the work to have such an ironic presence- where the expectations of a military tank are not met, and what occurs is a situation safe enough for children to play with and poke at.