Göttke leads us through the stages of the statues’ expulsion from the public sphere, their dismemberment and incorporation into foreign military museums. We follow the statues’ desecration and humiliation, their transformation from manifestations of Saddam’s totalitarian power into icons of his defeated regime, and their symbolic reinterpretation by anti-war protesters. In moments hilarious to unsettling, Toppled reveals an array of attitudes towards the statues that demonstrates our complex relationship to representation. Even in our modern image culture, we respond to images in ways that are not guided solely by rationality but also by deeply rooted emotions and impulses that make a magical link between a person (Saddam) and his likeness.
29 April 2010, 20:00
lecture by Dario Gamboni (professor art history in Geneve, author of The Destruction of Art: Iconoclasm and Vandalism since the French Revolution)