Somnolent Signifiers

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Somnolent Signifier

Two monumental bronze figures proposed…

This proposed work takes for its paradigm the ubiquitous sculptural guardian figures that stand astride the thresholds of every urban culture.  From the imperial guardian lions of China, to the telamons of European architecture, it is the myriad figural motif of the architectural sentinel.  Whether gatekeeper, gargoyle, hero, patron or saint, these effigies adorn and preside over the threshold between outer and inner spaces, between realms secular and sacred, between modes of life, public and private.

The work here proposed has elected the anachronistic image of the ceremonial standard-bearer.  Rendered in the bronze of a sinuous and classical affiliation, and within the western tradition of the allegorical nude, this stout cultural marker of the garrison, the tribe, the nation is here somewhat unraveled. 

Away from the portrayal of the ever-wakeful sentinel, this stalwart is depicted in a state of slumber.  We encounter a threshold sentry, himself at the threshold between states of consciousness. Between, perhaps, that state of mind ever watchful of the stranger and the dream state that can give impetus to a change of heart and mind.  And above him, hovering like a thought-bubble, his tribal banner and standard is bound and obscured, as it is subsumed and rendered a cipher for the cosmopolitan ethos.

David Robinson