"I am surprised how many metalsmiths have chosen to keep the gun as a whole, rather than to manipulate or reconfigure the gun’s materials. Certainly a big part of this was the barrier of working with a frighteningly ‘loaded’ (metaphorically) and often unfamiliar object."
I am thinking about Boris's statement. I see both sides now.
When my gun arrived in the mail for this exhibition Imagine Peace Now I had never touched a gun before. I was definitely planning on taking it apart or cutting it apart. Both were easy options using my metalsmithing skills....but then taking the gun out of the box, even a small gun seemed threatening. I thought, maybe the gun was scarier, more frightening, more lethal, if it was whole.
By putting the gun on the handle of my check writing machine, it meant that the viewer had to metaphorically grab the handle of the gun every time they were calculating or "Checking the Cost of Gun Violence."
Do you think you might have to grab these guns? or use them? Is this your "new normal?"
In the artwork shown (left and below) by Stacey Lee Webber the guns are cut lengthwise. The colors of the different gun metals are very interesting. The frame echos similar metallic colors. The photograph with grey sludge concrete on the wall seems far more poignant. I see the frame on the wall as a memorial to the victims of gun violence on the street. A memorial of death.
Despite the fact that the guns are cut in half, they still hold a powerful resonance.
So a whole gun really isn't the point. Half a gun can send a powerful message.
Here are two more examples in this discussion about guns whole or in parts and the meaning of materials.
A necklace by LeeAnn Herreid is made from one gun trigger with additional gun parts that were molded and cast to create duplicate parts. The necklace uses gun parts in an attractive decorative way. The photograph is neat and consistent with quality photographic standards but leaves me a little empty. It doesn't grab me with the threatening issues surrounding gun violence. Does the "pretty" perfection get in the way?
Boris often photographed work in this Brave series on "gansta" guys. The message was clear. Jewelry from the street made from actual gun triggers. The parts of the guns, the triggers themselves still carried powerful meaning.
In summary, my first assumption that the whole gun was scarier isn't really true. Parts of a gun, a slice or a trigger can still carry a powerful message.
Creativity really is an art more than a science. One principle can not apply to all situations, and nuance can make all the difference between good and great interpretations.
View the Kickstarter campaign for an exhibition catalog by Boris Bally. There are only ONLY 9 days left in the Kickstarter with 37% of the needed funds and 135 backers. Can you give one dollar? or five dollars, or $35. dollars.
Stay tuned for updates about the upcoming exhibition locations for Imagine Peace Now. If you run a gallery or exhibition space, perhaps you might want to contact Boris Bally about the traveling show schedule.