Destruction or Creation?
Some people have the urge to create wondrous things, The Sistine Chapel, incredible buildings, masterpiece works of art, others want to destroy…
Why do humans have this urge to destroy?
Play a game of Lego with a toddler, you construct something you are proud of, the toddler will soon dismantle it, all your work undone…why?
On a totally different level, you have images of groups such as ISIS and The Taliban, destroying buildings or artifacts that have been around for centuries. For example The Taliban brought a lorryload of dynamite from Kabul in order to destroy the Buddha of Bamiyan statue, an impressive monument carved into the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan. This vandalism on a grand scale was brought about because the statue was deemed a “non-Islamic statue”.
ISIS seem to use destruction of Artifacts and Cultural vandalism as a useful propaganda tool, they bring their tools of destruction (sledgehammers) and film themselves destroying statues in Syria and Iraq, monument s and artifacts that many around the world marvel over. Imagine giving them free reign in a city like Rome?
Alongside this destruction there is also a lot of looting, to keep their coffers full.
Some Art vandalism does have some logic behind it…the vandals simply abhor the art work (in an exhibition) so much, they feel a need to destroy something. There must be many people around who would love to destroy a Damien Hurst, or set fire to Tracey Ermin’s beds? Some people are so irked by these artist’s work…Some people have the gall to destroy it…
Is there any artist’s work you would like to destroy? Because you feel utter hatred for this work?
Some maybe have a desire to destroy perfection…You see a white canvas on a wall, isn’t the temptation to great to mark it…Mark Rothko was a victim of Art vandalism…the work worth a cool five million pounds was targeted by a man called Wlodzimierz Umaniec who saw himself as an artist himself, claiming writing his name and a slogan in black paint was an act of ‘yellowism’ like that of the work of Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp’s work has also been a target for vandalism…a neo-Dadaist seeing fit to take hammer to Duchamp’s “fountain” (a urinal). The villain of the piece a French performance artist named Pierre Pinoncelli, seems to have it in for Duchamp, he has also urinated in the urinal…quite metaphorical if you think about it…maybe he felt fit to take the piss… Pinoncelli has had to pay for his antics.
So the art vandal sees their vandalism as a form of art in its self. They are putting their stamp on the art world.
Some vandals suffer from delusion, others possible insanity, though sometimes it migh be hard to decipher somebody’s mental state. Take a man who attacked Pablo Picasso’s 25-by-11 foot antiwar masterpiece Guernica, the man concerned Tony Shafrazi took a can of red spray paint into New York’s Museum of Modern Art and daubed this cryptic message KILL LIES ALL in foot-high letters across. When being hauled away by security guards he was heard to say theatrically “Call the curator. I am an artist.” He was later to claim he meant no harm to Picasso.
Shafrazi is now a gallery owner himself and was the victim of revenge vandalism, when somebody threw a brick at his gallery window with the blunt message…”Remember Guernica.”
In my book of short stories a man conspires to vandalize his genius’ brother masterpiece painting collection. He is driven by the fact that he has lived in his brother’s shadow and has aspirations to be great painter himself.
Below is an extract giving a description of his mind at work as he systematically destroys his brother’s work…
Constanzi lurched towards the next painting, his mind already
scheming and calculating how much damage he could inflict using
each new color and technique of destruction. This time he chose burnt
umber. Scooping a fistful into his right hand, he shakily climbed a
stepladder next to another painting, barely managing not to fall, and
successfully smeared the contents of his hand all over the middle third
of the huge painting. Carefully descending the ladder, he noticed a
bucket and mop. Maestro’s apprentices were required to mop the floor
every morning before he arrived (Maestro’s studio had to be spotless to
match the perfection of the paintings). Constanzi poured a bottle of
walnut oil into the bucket, slapped the mop in, swirled it about,
clambered back up the ladder, and, like a workman cleaning a wall,
began obliterating the top portions the large painting, covering a
luminous sky with a crude veil that reminded him of excrement. As the
fluid trickled down the canvas, it began obscuring the fine details
Maestro had painstakingly put in the painting.
Grabbing a handful of aquamarine, the original color of the now obscured
sky, he completely eliminated the central figure, a heavenly
depiction of the current Pope, poised as if about to join the saints in
heaven. In one motion, he’d reduced the pontiff to little more than a
crude blue stripe. Satisfied, he took another pull from his shoulder
wine skin and cackled devilishly.
Article by Francis H Powell author of Flight of Destiny, feel free to buy and burn as many copies as you like and burn them, at least I might go up the Amazon rankings…