“From the people who build monuments in the first place, to those who destroy them, from theVisigoths and Vandals sacking Rome, the waves of European colonization, the destruction wrought by ISIS, taggers defacing Banksy’s work and I’ve even seen guys walking down the street keying cars one after another, there is a thread running though all: the universal connection is about leaving a mark.
They are all trying to say: Here I am. I have existed.
Some say it with beauty. Others with destroying the beauty. But the sentiment is the same.” – Matthew Quick
To represent these ideas into cohesive, instantly recognizable visual stories, Matthew Quick started painting existing monuments with specific contemporary items. And while this worked, something curious also happened. What he found was that in many cases the added object altered the focus, causing the viewer to begin questioning the origins of the item and its place in society.
With his attention now turned to contemporary society, suddenly everything was fair game. With their conscious symbolism, the statues provide a foundation for a revisionist take on the notions of beauty, pride, individual freedom, social control, surveillance and nationalism. Historical sacred cows were also up for grabs. With ordinary objects replacing their crowns and thrones, the aura of emperors and gods can be transformed into powerless nobodies. And by gently ridiculing the deceitful behavior of rulers who intentionally fail to act as they speak, it allowed him to question their motivations and subvert their initial grandiose goals.
French artist Soasig Chamaillard turns statuettes of the Virgin Mary into pop culture icons like the Power Rangers and My Little Pony. Chamaillard uses damaged or found miniatures of the Holy Virgin of Lourdes or Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal for her repurposed statuettes. Her work with religious statues, which has created controversy in the past, started when she decided to restore a damaged statue of the Virgin she had received from her father. At the time she wanted to create a more modern version of the Vigin Mary as we may perceive her today.
Charmaillard expresses, “The playful interaction of society’s many icons, physical transformations, and the resulting improbable combinations, have culminated in my vision of a woman’s role and place in our society. This inner questioning of a woman’s role, has led me to use one of the most sacred icons in my work, namely, the Virgin Mary. I surely do not mean to chock those who believe but rather to move those who see.”
After months of planning and photos that looked real but weren’t, the Yoshitomo Nara statues made in conjunction with Nara’s forthcoming exhibition at the Asia Society, are now sitting on Park Avenue in Manhattan. They look sort of boss, boss.
If you were on acid or peyote, how fucking scary would this sculpture be if you were just wandering around Manhattan on Park Avenue? We can tell you this. You would start talking to it, perhaps even dancing with it. The lowdown, they are Yoshitomo Nara statues, they will be on Park Avenue starting August 8th, they will not talk to you if you were high, and they will be located at the Asia Society on Park Avenue and East 70th St. and at the Park Avenue Armory on East 67th St. through November.