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Translated icon III, 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. 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.

Translated Icon III investigates how symbols of identity can often have their formal qualities substantially altered, while retaining a fundamental ‘essence’ in order to continue to effectively communicate the identity behind them. The consistency of the original form, combined with the seductive and non-threatening aspects of the media, reference how organisations and governments repackage their identities in order to gain the trust, or reduce suspicion of different demographics.

In this version, the surface is synthetic fur. It’s obvious inviting tactile qualities, often associated with the comfort of childhood toys generates a strong desire to physically touch it – an action usually considered strictly taboo in the case of exhibited works of art. This piece – like the others – is designed to be touched. In order to build tension within the viewer, between their internal desire to stroke it,  and the conflicting perception of societal expectations and taboos, no visible sanction for physical interaction is given.

Weight 60 kg
Dimensions 181 × 3.5 × 120 cm

Synthetic fur, FSC certified timber, mild steel frame