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1989 Emerging Continents
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Blake



ISC Professional Member

Registered: April 2005
Location: Monaco
Posts: 668
users gallery
This work represents Revolution and Repression

Blake
· Views: 60664 · Filesize: 6.9kb, 24.9kb ·
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Rating: ********** 10.00
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Rebecca B
Level 1 user

Registered: September 2008
Location: south wales
Posts: 4
Mon March 2, 2009 5:04am Rating: 10.00 

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Blake

ISC Professional Member

Registered: April 2005
Location: Monaco
Posts: 668
Wed April 22, 2009 1:09pm

The Story behind this work

1989 Emerging Continents the Inspiration



"1989: Emerging Continents", reflects a turbulent period in our recent history and speaks of some of the trauma being experienced in Europe, Asia and Africa. A portrait of a young oriental man expresses compassion and solidarity for victims of oppressive governments in Asia. An African, emerging from the marble block clutching a "stone" represents liberation and hope. The references within the work are related to our past history, which each of us creates, as well as that which is attained as knowledge. The story told by the figures speaks of the flesh through the silence of the stone, and the spirit.

The inspiration for this project came abruptly in June of 1989. The government in China met the pro-democracy movement with repressive action in Tienneman Square. This brutal silencing of a student congregation voicing demands for a more democratic government, became the spark that was to initiate my political statement in marble. Although I remained physically unharmed by this conflict, my association was highly personal, as this massacre occurred on the day of my thirty-third birthday. I was so extremely saddened by this event and angered that it stained this day that I began to think of it in very personal terms. The horror which I felt over the next few days as the news reports reached Western Europe, left both a mark on me and a need to express in my work the outrage I felt. The image that haunted me was represented by a head bowed in surrender and submission, the head of a young Chinese student buried to the neck in political turmoil. The image was quite clear, however, it remained unfinished in my mind and any attempt to realize this work continued to elude me, and I resolved to return to this idea at a later date.

On the ninth of November of the same year, I was working on a life size female sculpture with a German model, who informed me that her mother had called from Berlin on the previous night and had told her that the fall of the Berlin wall was imminent. I immediately found myself making arrangements to go to Berlin. We arrived on the morning of the eleventh. The following days I will remember as being among the most fascinating which I had ever encountered. History was being made and I felt that I was witness to it. I felt a responsibility to mark these moments and although I had no idea of how I would express my feelings I did know that it was important that I save a portion of that Wall as a souvenir of this moment. To that end I spent the afternoon of our second day trying to procure a piece of this symbol of Communist repression. The difficulties that I encountered, oddly enough, came from the West German authorities, who were continuing, at that time, to protect the wall from vandals like me. I was able to retrieve a small portion of cement block, but I lost both the hammer and the chisel that I had borrowed in order to claim my prize.

I left Berlin inspired with ideas and images of revolution, freedom, and victory, the triumph of a people over a repressive government. These images mixed in my imagination with those of subjugation and failure as was experienced in Beijing, and brought me to visualize some of the dichotomies of political reality; revolution is seen as treason for those who are being disposed, it depends solely on one's point of view. This was the theme that I tried to hold on to throughout my search for expression, to mark those moments in history, to represent those millions who have given their lives in quest of freedom. But the images of these ideas and definitions eluded me; semantics and political inferences confused both the idea and myself. How could I represent the little I knew about what was really happening in Beijing, and from who’s' point of view. The questions became a circle, the dichotomies an infinite loop, and I returned to the image of surrender and victory beside each other and freedom and repression back to back. My confusion remained unabated until again a political upheaval rocked the world, the apartheid government in South Africa released Nelson Mandela. With this news came my focus, the image of a native African rising in triumph from the restrictions of a political power, emerging from the bonds of stone. His raised hand clutches a piece of that Wall, representing those political injustices which he survives, and at his back, the Chinese student, head bowed in submission sinking into the depths of repression.

Publicly displayed in Monaco, this sculpture has evoked conflicting emotions; once a swastika was penciled on the marble. It's significance can be understood in many different ways, however, after I had washed off the graffiti, I thought that perhaps I had silenced a voice and the work was less complete as a result. Rather than thinking of the sculpture as being defaced, I wished to view those markings as in some way confirming the essence of the democratic process: A voice for all who care to speak.

The work was created in 1990 in marble thanks to a friend and patron Mr. Ted Field to whom I owe my most sincere gratitude for his trust and his belief in me, my vision, and my work.

Blake

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Art that does not attempt the impossible is not performing its function. W.B. Yeats
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Lady Fingers

Level 6 user

Registered: March 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 126
Mon December 14, 2009 6:16pm Rating: 10.00 

This sculpture is a masterpiece. It's by far the best figurative work I have seen on this site. I could feast my eyes on this for years and never tire. I am taken far beyond the political, to a deeply human appreciation.

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