Mario & Antonio
In the Kromme Elleboog, a sidestreet of the Witte de Withstraat, the
façade of a corner building is decorated with the portrait busts of two
male figures. The sculptures were made by John Ahearn, with the
assistance of Rigoberto Torres. The men depicted look at one another.
One is rather young, white and dressed in a leather jacket while the
other is dark-skinned, wearing work overalls and holding a willow
street-sweeping broom. The sculptures are extremely detailed, and not
only is attention placed on the subjects’ appearances, but also on the
anatomical shape and colour of their faces. The artists approximate
reality as closely as possible; this is demonstrated by the way the
figures are posed, and in the use of props and clothing.
The people who posed for the sculptures are two local residents, “Mario
and Antonio”. Their heads and part of their torsos were cast in
plaster. After that, lifelike polyester sculptures were crafted using
the moulds, and these were then painted by Ahearn. The underlying idea
of the two façade sculptures is that Ahearn felt it was important this
time not to portray public figures such as famous naval heroes,
scholars, poets, philanthropists, heads of state, administrators or
politicians. This time, he wanted to immortalise ‘unknown’ people, the
average person on the street. It’s not about stereotypes here, but
individuals, the type of person you might see on any city street.
With his replicas of real people, Ahearn took art outside of the walls of a museum. This reflects his interest in taking on a new type of engagement, centring on the public and zooming in on social themes. By using two unknown people as models and exhibiting them in a lifelike manner in a public space, he aimed to reinforce their identities, thereby increasing the social cohesion in the neighbourhood.
|location since||1991, Witte de Withstraat, Cool, City Center (in store, new location is sought)|
|trend||Socially engaged realism|
|dimensions sculpture (hxwxl) in cm||100 x 180 x 50|
|material||Polyester resin, paint, lacquer|
Marco & Jordi (Ro Theater) tijdens Jubileum SIR op 11 september 2011
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