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Label: imitation

Wednesday 21st September 2016The Weird and Wonderful

Art imitates life, and life imitates art. Old sayings are often ridiculous, but that one certainly holds true, especially in an age of social media photography and vapid self-reflection. But there are few times when it's been more literally true than during a recent moment in Berlin.
 
A large statue of American pop star Rihanna was unveiled in June as a part of the ninth iteration of the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Built by Colombian sculptor Juan Sebastián Peláez and entitled Ewaipanoma (Rihanna), the statue is a much larger than life version of Rihanna, clad in nothing but a bikini. The only thing missing from the statue is her head, while a 'to scale' version of her face is plastered across her chest as the sculpture holds up sunglasses to hide her nonexistent head.
 
So what better way to reflect on the absolute insanity of that old saying than to see a picture of Rihanna visiting the sculpture of herself and striking the same pose?
 
One can't help but wonder if the accompanying photo (credit: Hayden Manders) is a work of art in and of itself. In the technical sense, it is, as in 'he has copyright to this piece of imagery', but what about from a formal aesthetics sense?
 
If we accept Richard Prince stealing other people's Instagram photos, enlarging them and claiming to have modified them enough to distinguish his own copyright (backed up by the American legal system), is a photograph of a sculpture a work of art in its own right? Especially one that actually (whether intentionally or not) makes a commentary about the nature of that work?  
 
It seems like a far more valid premise than Prince's, to this writer at least. Perhaps there's an interesting photo series to be made there, with each photo starring one person and the sculpture that supposedly represents them.
 
Probably not a great way to make friends in the art world, as Prince has found out. However, the art world does also love a rebel, regardless of whether or not they actually like them. No matter which side you come down on, there's something weird and wonderful about this photo - and perhaps it wouldn't last as a series, since the spontaneity would be lost. 
 
What do you think? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
 

Posted on September 21st 2016 on 07:06pm
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