Monday, April 13, 2009

Something for Everyone

Something For Everyone, Steel, bright red Rayon fibers, adhesive, 350cm x 120cm x 5cm, 2009

A young Kalashnikov at the drawing board

I've had this image in my head for awhile and the more I researched it the more engaging the project became for me. More than a few years back I did a large handgun and was always surprised at the variety of responses that I received, beyond the standard positive/negative people would really just sit there and reflect on what it meant to them. The majority found it disturbing, I did as well. It was and is a potent symbol.

Something for Everyone, Steel, 350cm x 104cm, 2009

Something for Everyone (detail), Steel, 350cm x 104cm, 2009

The Kalashnikov or AK-47 (standing for Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947) was invented by Mikhail Kalashnikov and has had what could be considered an illustrious trajectory in becoming first the standard issue rifle for the Russian military and then exported en masse to cold war battlegrounds in the middle east and especially Africa. In some countries, Mozambique for example, it is seen as a key element in their struggle against colonialism and imperialism and was even adopted as an image on their flag on May 1st 1983 (Recent years have seen a sharp debate to have it removed). Kalashnikov has been quoted that he is proud that for many his invention is synonymous with liberty, he has also stated that it was Germany's fault that he became a fabricator of arms otherwise he would have happily stayed and agricultural engineer which was what he was previous to being drafted into the Red Army during WWII. A few interesting facts about General Kalashnikov on his Wiki profile here.
As for the name I've given the piece, Something for Everyone, it has to do with this type of work which i feel leaves no one indifferent. I start with concern/interest in the composition of the object but ultimately am also aware of it's socio-political as well as historic significance. As far as scale is concerned I was due for a big one. This piece should not be confused as a pro arms stance or celebration of the arm itself but more an opportunity for reflection.


Some new tools to explore

As you can see the Kalashnikov is destined to be a 3.5m bright red fuzzy Kalashnikov. Quite a process.