Tristin Lowe’s colossal Mocha Dick (52 feet) is a marvel – a vinyl under structure covered in white industrial felt. It’s a replica of a real albino sperm whale that went after whaling vessels near Mocha Island the South Pacific in the early 19th century. This is the creature that is supposed to have inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851).
Lowe collaborated with the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia to make the sculpture, which is on exhibit at The West Collection in Pennsylvania.
“Vividly chronicled by a New England seafarer and published in the monthly Knickerbocker magazine (1839), the creature was said to have attacked as many as twenty whaling vessels.” according to exhibition notes from a previous show at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. “The graphic account describes the elusive behemoth, known as Mocha Dick, as a ghostly presence: ‘As white as wool . . . as white as a snow drift . . . white as the surf around him.’ This notorious creature was especially striking because sperm whales are commonly dark gray, brown, or black.”
Many more images on the website of Tristin Lowe, here.
Tristin Lowe’s C.V., here.
Note: The particulars of the sculpture are: Industrial wool felt, inflatable armature, vinyl-coated fabric, and internal fan.