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Translated Icon, 1997

This is the first of the Translated Icon series. It examines how identity and the appearance of power can be invested in an image, transforming it into a symbol. Examples are the flag of a nation; the logo or crest of a company or organisation; a coat of arms for a family; and even a signature for individuals. This series asks us to question the way symbols are presented to us. Their size, format and media are calculated to suggest hierarchies. For example, a huge illuminated logo on the top of a skyscraper suggests enormous wealth and influence. A fake Rolex might suggest a wealthy individual, when the opposite is the case.

In this instance, the target like symbol is hollow – with no identity behind it. The colours, and forms invested in it, could however easily represent many identities. The design borrows colours from the British national flag, and the historic roundels prominent on British World War II aircraft (that were later appropriated by MOD culture). It incorporates green to acknowledge the Welsh flag as well. (This series was created at Hodway’s Cardiff studio). The gold ring and red dot create a mandala referencing the fractal relationship of the macrocosm and microcosm, so could suggest a spiritual, or philosophical organisation.

The scale and format echoes an advertising billboard. Mounted on an arm protruding from the bottom horizontal of the steel frame is a spot light, common to many roadside hoardings. The light is positioned low, to trigger subconscious associations with the upward lighting often used to illuminate grand monuments and architecture, as well as theatrical villains.

In reality, viewers have projected all manner of concepts onto the vacant but symbolically pregnant symbol – from a red eyeball, to a cherry bake well tart.

Weight 62 kg
Dimensions 181 × 120 × 3.5 cm