Invading their personal space, tresspassing the natural habitat. Some people feel the urge to destroy or damage certain artworks, sculptures. Simply beacause they don’t belong in their environment. The modern iconoclasm is what they call it. Although I don’t seem to find the name being very appropriate is it’s connotation is much more severe then what is happening now. Especially compared to the destruction of religious artwork and the fear for idolatry (without mentioning the the destruction of the Buddhas in Afghanistan, but i’m not touching that one.
Let’s keep it nearby; In Ghent there’s a contemporary art exhibit in town. It exists of multiple sculptures, installations situated all over town. Therefor it’s not remarkeble that some of these became the victim of ‘modern iconoclasm’. (The same thing happened at Beaufort – see below). As you can see on the picture above, the letter is ‘R’ (Search & Destroy) is missing. The piece has been removed from the installation and thrown into the water. Why they did this, isn’t surely known. One thing is for sure; they took the message a bit too serious.
“There are two types of sculptures: sculptures only being big qua size or sculptures having a real public function in the communal domain. I consider it my personal struggle to realize as many interesting public sculptures as possible. Cities like open-air museums, sounds like realizing my ultimate dream; a confrontation with the public surrounded by art every day.” – Arne Quinze (BE)
Arne Quinze is a Belgian concept-artist, (one of the few representing Belgium at Beaufort 04) who is well known for his (un)controversial public installations. And yes he loves big sculptures, he does! They’re big, red, “rock strangers”.
What happens when you invade the common habitat of a human being, how does he respond to the arrival of these ‘strange rocks’
This is the question the artist asked himself and the answer was rather clear…
A strange meeting that’s for sure, but isn’t visiting the coastline a strange meeting on it’s own? You have all these people that travel down to the coast to cluster on a rather small surface and blend in this unknown environment and when you finally do, you stumble upon these these ‘figures, rocks, entities, .. whatever/ however you want to describe them.
So I was really anxious to see this in real life, I had been reading about it ever since it got there in the first place. So when I finally got there I stumbled on some fences and a construction site (see picture below). Therefor it was impossible to wander among these rather strange, awkward entities, which I believe would be the perfect way to experience the feeling that the artist wanted to create. A bit of a disappointment to be honest. Nonetheless they were there and I did kind of saw them from a certain distance and already they amazed me.
So although there was lot’s of commotion and criticism on the matter whether or not they belong there; most of the inhabitants were against the project. Mission accomplished for the artist I would say.
“A lot of cities around the globe look the same although they are located on different continents. You can still find identical buildings or the same streets. One can no longer detect any differences, people put up concrete walls around them. Building large-scaled installations makes people feel small as a human being. I hope that they start asking questions about what their function on this planet is. With my monumental sculptures I seek confrontation with my audience. I regard my work as a study about how I experience life and how people in general experience their lives.” – Arne Quinze
I’m really amazed how fast people feel endangered or uncomfortable and it makes you wonder who the strangers actually are; the objects or the people around them? But then again; imagine this happening..