Visitors to 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville may have noticed an otherworldly addition to the premises. A cosmic spectacle has found its way to the Downtown Bentonville Square – above 21c’s front door rests a glowing “globule,” an art installation fashioned by French multi-media artist Bruno Peinado. The piece, called Untitled, Globule Ubiquity Vibrations, is comprised of nylon, LED lights and various media, all coalescing in a miniature globe or “globule” that appears illuminated after night fall. The front portion of the globule depicts a topographical landscape resembling a planet, with the backside consisting of a singular gray matte color, meant to resemble a lunar eclipse, an allusion to the proverbial “dark side of the moon.”
21c founders Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson discovered the piece at the Paris-based Galerie Herve Loevenbruck. From there, the globule was transported overseas and installed at 21c Bentonville in late August. Prior to landing in Bentonville, Arkansas, Untitled, Globule Ubiquity Vibrations was previously shown at Skyway 09 in Torun, Poland (the birth place of famed astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus), as well as Belgium, the Netherlands and several cities in France including Paris, where it was exhibited on the grounds at the Louvre.
This visually arresting installation is sure to make a unique impact on the downtown Bentonville square; Museum Director Alice Gray Stites discusses the exciting potential of the piece, “The ‘globule’ will certainly light up downtown Bentonville with an unexpected presence. As with most artwork, the community impact is unpredictable; that is what’s exciting about inserting works of art into public space: creating an opportunity to encounter the unexpected.” The creation of an unpredictable space to encounter art in part defines the museum experience at 21c Bentonville: art is intended to be accessible and engaging, with a few surprises along the way (as is certainly the case with Peinado’s cosmic creation).
Delving further into the title of the installation reveals a modus operandi for which the artist is known, a sometimes sportive and ethereal take on his subject: Stites goes on to digest the title, “Peinado is a conceptual artist who makes playful, sometimes mysterious allusions in the titles of his artwork. Given that this sculpture offers a view of the earth during a lunar eclipse, the vibrations are likely those of the cosmos—the movement of planets, stars, and the elements.” Ubiquity in the title references our closest cosmic neighbor’s looming presence, and the vibrations recall the actions that take place during a lunar eclipse.
Stites also finds commonality between this piece and the recently opened show Dis-semblance: Projecting and Perceiving Identity, currently on view in 21c Bentonville’s galleries and public spaces. “The exhibition explores the shifting nature of identity in our digital, global age; we are increasingly more interconnected and interdependent. Peinado’s ‘globule’ offers another reminder of our global village,” Stites explains. In effect, the artist reminds us of our place within the cosmos by providing a piece that, with its sizable presence, recalls our relationship to other planets. Ultimately, Untitled, Globule Ubiquity Vibrations remains an intriguing and imaginative welcome to all those who visit 21c Bentonville and The Hive.