Mushroom Cloud is a literal interpretation of a mushroom cloud filled with deep metaphors by British conceptual artist Chris Drury. The hanging sculptural installation is site-specific and can contain anywhere from 6,000 to 18,000 dried slices of fungi, covered in a layer of acrylic, mimicking its own form which is consequently also the shape of a nuclear explosion.
Drury is known to create environmentally driven pieces and this installation is no exception. The artist questions the ties between nature and man-made destruction through his metaphorical utilization of mushrooms. By threading the natural materials onto nylon strings and suspending them on a steel frame towering above the spectator’s eye level, audiences are forced to arch their heads back and take in the ghastly immensity of the billowing structure whose composition is of natural elements, though the entity’s configuration is symbolic of devastating obliteration. The effectiveness of the work’s dichotomous representation is further intensified by the burst of light from below that could be interpreted as the source of the explosion or perhaps a beam of hope.
Mushroom Cloud is currently showing at the Schlossmediale festival in Switzwerland whose concept this year is “Invisible Traces.” The 5-meter-high suspended structure will be up through the summer as one of three pieces by Drury.