When it comes to Holocaust art, a 60-foot sculpture of an ant wearing a straw boater breaks the mold.
Xavier Roux’s sculpture, “The Ant,” at the Invisible Dog from this Saturday through March 13, is a massive, multi-segmented, air-filled, hat-donning arthropod — and in this case, size matters.
The 18-meter length represents the size of the train cars that transported Nazi victims to the concentration camps, according to the 1942 Robert Desnos poem that inspired Roux.
“An 18-meter long ant/With a hat on its head,” wrote Desnos, a member of the French resistance who died just after being liberated from a Czechoslovakia camp.
“When I read the poem, I said to myself, ‘I need to create an 18-meter ant wearing a hat,” Roux said.
Easier said than done. First, Roux needed the help of the gallery’s Director Lucien Zayan, who provided the space. And Roux called in steel artist Juan Alfaro to construct the ant’s hat and legs. The remainder of the sculpture is comprised of 13-foot white balloons, purchased from the same company that makes the floats for the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Once the physical rendering of the ant was complete in all its mammoth glory, Roux said its meaning changed for him.
“We are the ant,” Roux said. “We are all on the train [to death] with all the people speaking different languages. The goal is to find happiness before we die.”
“The Ant” at the Invisible Dog Gallery (51 Bergen St. at Smith and Boreum Place in Boerum Hill) through March 13. For info, visit www.invisibledog.org.