Tuesday, 6 January 2009

From defaced cactus to Statuephilia

Graffiti, is it art or sacrilege? When is it harmless mark making, leaving your mark for future generations and when is it vandalism and damage of property that is not yours? This summer in Parc Guell in Barcelona we came across this cactus. I’d never seen anything like this before. Can you imagine the juice from the succulent leaves oozing out as the marks were cut? It makes me think of the blood brothers rituals as shown in old Cowboy and Indian films.
Then on New Years Day we visited Canterbury cathedral. There was so much to look at and to photograph but I was especially drawn to the graffiti. I love the antiquity of the building and I love the idea that we maybe aren’t so far evolved from our ancestors as we like to think.
But what is sacrilege? Isn’t it going a bit too far to deface a holy building and place of worship? Maybe the graffiti artists just wanted a piece of the action wanted to add their mark to be part of the (presumably) huge team of stonemasons. The oldest wooden church in England (near Basildon) was again more interesting because of this graffiti in the few brickwork areas of the building. The bricks look fairly soft.
This idea of making your mark of leaving something unique and personal behind is the way that I read these Salvador Dali candlesticks. Some people have a simple thumbprint but why not your anus? We chatted about this quite a bit when we saw this piece in the The DalĂ­ Theatre-Museum in Figueres this summer. Was it a baby’s anus and would it have wriggled and cried?
Completely making the leap because of the gold I just have to now mention the new Kate Moss statue, Siren, by Marc Quinn. It is part of the Statuephilia exhibition at the British Museum and is also writen about in Crafts magazine (Jan/Feb09). Far from staring at her face all I can do is look at the crotch detail. Am I getting too distracted by details? Should we put the emphasis on the fantastic skill of the craftsmen who cast Moss’s body (taking a whole year to do so) or rather to see her as Mark Quinn intends us to?
Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Quinn said he saw Miss Moss, who posed for him for a day though not in the position of the statue, as a "modern day Aphrodite".
"For Kate, she thinks it lifts her into a mythical level," he said.
"I think she very much loved it because she understands the difference between her image and her self.

"The sculpture is really about whether we make images or they make us. It's about trying to live up to impossible dreams and immortality."

What I want to know is if Kate Moss didn’t pose in this position then whose intimate details am I looking at? So, from graffiti to this; what a journey…

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