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Translated icon II, 1997

Identities are often expressed through symbols. In the case of a nation or state it is often embodied in a flag or standard; in the case of an organisation, company or corporation a logo or crest; and in the case of a family or an individual – a coat of arms. This work is a reinterpretation of an earlier piece: Icon, which explores the visual methodology of corporate and national insignia.

In this version, the patriotic colours have been expunged and replaced with black, leaving only the shapes and forms to signify the identity. Translated Icon II investigates how symbols of identity can often have their formal qualities distilled to a fundamental ‘essence’ while still effectively communicating the identity behind them.

With fewer reference points, and a symmetrical, abstract format, the subconscious mind can generate a wide spectrum of interpretations to what the symbol represents. The intentional ambiguity allows viewers to make their own, personalised associations with the work. This echoes the multi-layered hooks used in advertisements to influence different demographics.

The surface is padded PVC and has the consistency of fetishised flesh. It solicits tactile interaction – often considered taboo in the case of exhibited works of art. As with others in this series, the large format, and welded steel frame references the dominant and durable presence of commercial billboards used to display the messages and insignia of corporate advertising and government propaganda.

Weight 60 kg
Dimensions 181 × 3.5 × 120 cm

Mixed (PVC, open cell foam, FSC certified timber, mild steel frame)