For thousands of years monuments have been constructed by one culture, only to be destroyed by another as attitudes, beliefs and structures of power shift and change. The culture wars are nothing new.
All around the University of Essex are sited Sam Durant’s large scale drawings from the series Iconoclasm, depicting acts of destruction enacted upon public statues and monuments. Based on images found in various historic sources – such as newspaper and television reports – Sam 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 reminds us of the notion of living history – and draws attention to questions of representation: who gets to occupy these spaces – and who gets to be heard?
A guide to all the sites around campus is available here: Guide to Iconoclasm by Sam Durant
Sam Durant (born 1961, USA,) is a multimedia artist whose works engage with social, political, and cultural issues.
To find out more about Sam Durant’s insightful work, visit his website: https://www.samdurant.net/
Image: Accra, 1966. By Sam Durant (2018). Graphite on paper. © Sam Durant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo. Photo: Makenzie Goodman