Continuous Transformation of the Form of a Child's Sled into that of Another
Installation, 20.5 x 14 x 2 cm.
Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. M00027).
On the material side, this piece by Rodney Graham is probably one of the least expensive art works in the M HKA's collection. It consists of a photo-slide of a 19th-century ceremonial sleigh and a postcard. The artist decided to make his work available to everyone, and it may be purchased via Munich's Kunstverein for only €10. For this price, you get a postcard and a photo-slide of the ceremonial sleigh once belonging to Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1886), and now found in the Marstallmuseum at Schloss Nymphenburg in Germany. On the postcard, are instructions as to how the art work must be presented. In order to make this work, one has to reproduce the photo-slide of the ceremonial sleigh in 80 examples, and these must be placed in the carousel of the slide projector. The projector must then be placed on a child's sleigh and aimed at a white wall, so that the image of the king's ornate winter coach appears on the wall.
Here, Graham appropriates (the image of) the ceremonial royal sleigh and transforms it into a new work of art. The classic element, the image of the ceremonial sleigh, is annexed by Graham and undergoes various artistic operations: the image is endlessly repeated and is divested of its original context, so exploring the relationship between art work and its social setting. The artist aims to unite the material and spiritual aspects of the work. The child's sleigh, a concrete, real object, provides a direct connection, associated as it often is with childhood memories. From these musings we glide as it were to the image of the ceremonial sleigh, something completely at odds with this experience and offering a wholly different picture of reality.
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