Bignik in Switzerland

Earlier this month, Swiss artists and twin brothers Frank and Patrik Riklin hosted what has to be the world’s largest picnic in a massive, inherently interactive art installation called Bignik. Bignik is the realization of 160,000 sprawling square feet of sewn-together patchwork panels; when combined, the cloth panels became a picnic blanket of epic proportions.

Set against the bucolic, mountainous landscape of Stein, Switzerland, the bright, rambling patches of white and red fabric looked like something out of a dream. The Huffington Post reports, “The setting gave way to a massive family-friendly art feast, with 1,500 visitors bringing sunscreen and snacks to the novel art event,” of the public participation that Bignik inspired and celebrated. A picnic wouldn’t be a picnic without people, after all.

This summer’s recent Bignik installation is actually the second time the Riklin brothers have created the massive, dreamy picnic. Reportedly, the artists have a vision of eventually creating a picnic blanket so large that it could cover 100 football fields. It’s hard to conceive of such a large-scale public art installation, but the determination and vision of the Riklin brothers is deeply inspiring.

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“Art has to have a clear function,” Patrik has said of the intention behind a creative endeavor, especially public, interactive artworks. “It should be experienced amidst life and not be confined to art galleries and museums,” he enthusiastically explains.

The function of Bignik, it seems, is to allow one’s imagination to run wild, and to celebrate the ways in which people interact with public artworks. Public art is remarkable for the ways in which it can unify communities, inspire exploration and creativity, and allow people to experience their surroundings in nuanced, visually stunning ways. Bignik is as much a celebration of people, summertime, and the pastime of picnicking, as it is an artwork so vast it redefines the possibilities of public art.

Images: via Facebook.

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