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Erdem Gunduz at Taksim Square in Istanbul

Lotte van Geijn

In the story of David and Goliath I always forget who is who. Is David the giant and Goliath the shepherd boy? Or is David the shepherd boy and Goliath the giant?

I am standing in front of a huge statue. It is a man with a bag in one hand and a jacket loosely in the other.  He looks like he just got back from work, walking home, but suddenly decided to go into another direction. Tomorrow, he will not follow the same route to work again. Tomorrow, everything will be different. Behind this huge statue is a small army of green figures. Toy soldiers. We kneel down to look at them closely. I feel your breath on my face. Suddenly a soldier stumbles and within a domino effect the start to fall. This place makes me rebellion. We put the plastic soldiers back on their feet: ‘Back in line.’ One stubborn plastic soldier keeps looking at you. We decide to let him be different.
blikvanger #55-1I am in the prestigious building of the Rabobank in Utrecht. Men in tight suits. A woman asks us if we would like a coffee, a tea or perhaps an audio-tour. On the wall is written: ‘Images are easier to consume than to understand.’ We eat images like hungry insatiable wolves.

Statue at Rabobank

The Statue (is it David or  Goliath?) is exactly five meters and sixteen centimeters high, a centimeter smaller than Michelangelo’s David. The master is unbeatable the Spanish artist Fernando Sánchez Castillo seems to say. The statue is produced by a huge 3D printer. A fascinating process, seen at the video presentation, but it undermines the myth. Wondering how an artwork is made is an important part of his myth.

The statue is a personification of the unknown man at the Tiananmen Square in China. Who stood in front of the army tanks twenty-five years ago. By taking the average of many different faces of Chinese students he constructed the face of the statue. The silent power of one man, just standing. The statue immediately reminded me of the protest at the Taksim Square in Istanbul by the  artist Erdem Gunduz. He decided to stand at the square for eight hours and look at the statue of Kemal Atakurk. Protest in the most peaceful way. The power of one man against the huge system seems pointless, but it is certainly not. It goes beyond the person itself, leaving his ego behind, understanding the temporariness of human life and realizing that he is just an small link in the huge chain of history and future. Yet, he can make the difference. ‘I’m nothing. The idea is important.´

The small, Chinese man against the enormous row of army tanks is now standing as a huge, white David (or Goliath) statue here in front of me. I walk around him. His anonymity makes it possible for all of use to identify with him. I realize than I am standing in the building of a bank. This place and the artwork seems to clash. Or aren’t they in conflict? What is it that the bank tries to tell us? Because of your presence I’m more aware of this contrast.

Images are easier to consume than to understand.  Is it the same for:
Places are easier to consume than to understand. Or:

Statues are easier to consume than to understand.

Goliath is the giant and David is the shepherd boy. The Spanish artist has made the Chinese David as big as the giant Goliath would be. That could be an symbol for the power of his intelligence, but the huge Chinese statue is funny because of his bulky size. This is definitely not improving the meaning of the artwork. The David of Michelangelo is also a representation of David the shepherd boy of the myth about David and Goliath. I’m wondering how big would have been the statue of the giant Goliath?

With a statue of David at human-size it would be easier to identify with. I don’t think it is the time to make big statues to worship persons. Everybody can still remember the statue of Saddam Hussein pulled down on the Firdos Square in Baghdad at 2003.

Henk Barendregt is professor Mathematics and a Vipassana-mediation teacher. He’s not a missionary of Buddhism, but believes that consciousnesses deserves more scientific attention, said once: ‘(…) .. The term ‘meme’ (…) it is transferable knowledge, an idea that you can meme, memorize. (…) I think that the capability to let go the attachment to the ego is a meme, a skill that we need to acquire. (…) specially the addiction to the self. (…) as long as we have not realized that the ego is a process, a complicated process, we will try to defend that you is a fixed state: and this goes together with fighting and suffering. With this illusion we fight wars (…) The I is the very cause of madness and war.”

I have to return to the great founder and inspiration of nonviolent protest, Mahatma Gandhi. At the Churchilllaan in my hometown Amsterdam, crossing the Scheldestraat I found his statue. It looks  small to me, but when I put my hand next to his, I realize that the statue is at human size.

blikvanger #55.4
Lotte’s weekly Dutch blog about artworks that caught her eye can be seen at: http://www.lottevangeijn.blogspot.nl/

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