by Ariadna Zierold
“From the people who build monuments in the first place, to those who destroy them, from theVisigoths and Vandals sacking Rome, the waves of European colonization, the destruction wrought by ISIS, taggers defacing Banksy’s work and I’ve even seen guys walking down the street keying cars one after another, there is a thread running though all: the universal connection is about leaving a mark.
They are all trying to say: Here I am. I have existed.
Some say it with beauty. Others with destroying the beauty. But the sentiment is the same.” – Matthew Quick
To represent these ideas into cohesive, instantly recognizable visual stories, Matthew Quick started painting existing monuments with specific contemporary items. And while this worked, something curious also happened. What he found was that in many cases the added object altered the focus, causing the viewer to begin questioning the origins of the item and its place in society.
With his attention now turned to contemporary society, suddenly everything was fair game. With their conscious symbolism, the statues provide a foundation for a revisionist take on the notions of beauty, pride, individual freedom, social control, surveillance and nationalism. Historical sacred cows were also up for grabs. With ordinary objects replacing their crowns and thrones, the aura of emperors and gods can be transformed into powerless nobodies. And by gently ridiculing the deceitful behavior of rulers who intentionally fail to act as they speak, it allowed him to question their motivations and subvert their initial grandiose goals.