Charles Pétillon is a French photographer whose photographs of his iconic Invasions series represent different areas invaded by a cluster of inflatable white balloons, which appear like clouds, in a poetic staging. His work aims to make the public see the world around him with a different eye. White balloons bring to the childhood and the fragililty and restore emotion in these places.
In 2015 French artist Charles Pétillon presents his first public art installation in Covent Garden, in London, as 100,000 giant white balloons fill the grand interior of the 19th Century Market Building. Weaving its way through the building, Heartbeat stretches 54 metres in length and 12 metres in width, and incorporates gentle pulsating white light to symbolise the beating of a heart and reflect the history, energy and dynamism of the city.
Charles Pétillon said: “The balloon invasions I create are metaphors. Their goal is to change the way in which we see the things we live alongside each day without really noticing them. With Heartbeat I wanted to represent the Market Building as the beating heart of this area – connecting its past with the present day to allow visitors to re-examine its role at the heart of London’s life.
“Each balloon has its own dimensions and yet is part of a giant but fragile composition that creates a floating cloud above the energy of the market below. This fragility is represented by contrasting materials and also the whiteness of the balloons that move and pulse appearing as alive and vibrant as the area itself.”