Arts and Entertainment

Godzilla has arrived – but it's OK, he's just resting

Stretching 50 feet across the floor of Open Satellite at the 989 Elements building in Bellevue, a wood-framed sculpture of Godzilla is the latest installation created by a group of artists called SIMPARCH.

New Mexico-based artists Matt Lynch and Steven Badgett launched SIMPARCH in 1996, working as a collective with other artists to create architecturally scaled work that offers an experimental and populist perspective on the built environment. The SIMPARCH group works mostly with new and salvaged construction materials to address issues of utility, history, narrative and form.

The latest installation, exhausted, captures a drowsy take on the iconic Japanese monster Godzilla.

According to Lynch, the Godzilla monster is a complicated figure born in post-war Japan's film industry who represented the problem of conjuring dangerous alien forces.

"Godzilla is not the average loose cannon of a monster and in later films has even worked for humanity in fighting other really hostile monsters," Lynch explained. "He is an all-powerful biological anomaly that can initiate total destruction or be a benefactor. This character, who's roots invariably lie in ancient religious metaphor, is brought to life by film -- and we bring him to an unexciting conclusion in this exhibit."

Traditionally a destroyer of buildings and beasts, SIMPARCH crafted Godzilla as a monster responding to decades of social and political crisis and the unshakeable calm of Bellevue's aloof cityscape.

"We think that Godzilla (from the first film) is more than a monster movie, it is a well thought-out story with a strong ideological message, a contemporary and entertaining myth to be revisited during this period where the treat of nuclear destruction and irrational growth and production continue to plague us," Lynch explained.

To create the giant green lizard, Lynch and Badgett used a sun-shade cloth to cover the sculpture and create texture.

"We use mostly common building materials, but we explore alternatives to their proscribed uses," Lynch explained. "We appreciate the texture and durability of this most unprecious textile (sun-shade cloth) and found it a fitting solution to skin the structure for the exhausted exhibit."

Co-collaborator Kevin Drumm supplies a soundtrack to the collapse and fatigue of a sleeping Godzilla.

"In the gallery, viewers will find that the work is enterable – so you can be in the belly of the beast so to speak; a cosy respite from the ordered world outside," Lynch said.

The exhausted installation will be on display until October 3. 989 112 Ave NE, Suite 102 in Bellevue. For more information, visit www.opensatellite.org or call 425.454.7355.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.

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