Vanitas Pro Memoria

1999, 4 x 85 :115 cm / 2 x 75 : 115 cm, mixed media, price on request

The destruction of nazi and soviet art is not much better than the exploitation of art by these regimes.

Two triptychs face each other: on the right are gigantic photocopies of tiny reproductions of historical art works, on the left are three acrylic paintings mirroring them, which are made from the same reproductions, but which are “decapitated.” The originals are Nazi sculptures by Arno Breker and the famous Soviet monument, Worker and Collective Farm Woman, by Vera Mukhina.

The formats and the use of acrylic paint, which is less refined than oil, and the colours (black, white, red) refer to the aesthetics of political posters.

The “decapitation” is a reminder of the iconoclastic gesture that destroyed so many monuments to Nazism and communism. But to my mind, this destruction is not much better than the exploitation of art by these vile regimes. This heinous vengeance against the pictures suggests oblivion and the return of the object it pretends to eradicate.

Nazi and Soviet art are simply not comparable. That is why my models are treated in a different way: the slimy surface stresses the smooth, and for me, disgusting aspect of the Nazi sculptures, whereas freer and larger brush strokes suggest a certain dynamism in the Soviet monument. For if we are to consider both of these mercenary genres as a degradation of art, I prefer the works of Mukhina to those of Breker.

Vanitas pro memoria

Leave a Reply