Art Exchange, University of Essex, Colchester, UK
Art Exchange is pleased to present Iconoclasm, an exhibition of Sam Durant’s large scale drawings from the Iconoclasm series depicting acts of destruction enacted upon public statues and monuments, sited all around the University of Essex.
For thousands of years monuments have been constructed by one culture, only to be removed by another as attitudes, beliefs, and structures of power shift and change. The culture wars are nothing new. Based on images found in various historic sources—such as newspaper and television reports—Durant focuses on moments of disruption, and calls on current debates about how we relate to these potent symbols placed in public spaces.
Infiltrating the squares, paths, and buildings of campus, the drawings document fleeting yet significant moments of historical change. Now reproduced and increased in scale, their appearance within the campus community draws attention to questions of representation: who gets to occupy these spaces—and who gets to be heard? While the University of Essex is yet to mount a statue in one of its squares, these central spaces are where our community has come together for over 50 years during protests and demonstrations; those highly charged moments when students want to create change and build alternative futures. Iconoclasm will also feature a display in the Albert Sloman Library.
Sam Durant (b. 1961, Seattle, WA) is an interdisciplinary artist whose works engage myriad social, political, and cultural issues. His interest in monuments and memorials began with Proposal for Monument at Altamont Raceway, Tracy, CA (1999); and continues with Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions (2005) which re-contextualizes memorials to victims of the conquest of North America; and more recently with Proposal for Public Fountain (2015), a marble work depicting an anarchist statue being blasted by a police water cannon. Durant’s work has been included in numerous international exhibitions including documenta 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama, Japan (2017) and the Busan, Liverpool, Panama, Sydney, Venice, and Whitney Biennials (2006, 2014, 2008, 2008, 2007, 2004, respectively). His work can be found in public collections worldwide including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and Tate Modern, London, UK.