Rozety z kostí - Barbora Balkova

Barbora Bálková
Rocking dictators as rocking horses, life-sized hyper-realistic figures, laminate and wood, 2014
A typical carousel contains elements of theater, fitted with figures and moving
constantly, circling around… If we exaggerate we can perceive it as a symbol of
history, an imaginary “wheel of history”.
The crew of my carousel consists of five totalitarian politicians whose career
culminated in 20th century or in 21th century. I have chosen people (symbols)
that had major impact on political situation of the world. Even when they’re
already dead and we all want to forget them and their horrible deeds, they are
unfortunately still present. That is why my choice of each particular dictator is
based basically on number of his victims and how the dictator worked-out his
system of removal of inconvenient people. Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Kim Jongun, Fidel Castro, Idi Amin Dada, Pol Pot and many others established absolutist,
totalitarian and aggressive regimes and in spite of revolutionary attempts at
change and increasing national prosperity they cast poverty in their countries,
even famine. They are responsible for millions of human victims including war
casualties, political opponents from civil population. They became icons. Their
faces were portrayed with heroic pathos, always on top of their strength. Today
we look at their portraits with negative emotions, repulsion and hate.
Rocking dictators as rocking horses in carousel represent anti-memorials of men
who built their careers on establishing their totalitarian regimes. The spectator of
the carousel does not have to show his frustration and lust for revenge but I think
that while looking at this degraded power the spectator can feel some kind of
satisfaction. The submissiveness of former dictators should have cathartic effect.
Ego-maniacal demigods become children’s toys in form of rocking horses. They
become gentle, saddled, degraded and ultimately ridiculous. Rocking dictators
represent ironical commentary to the icons of absolute power.
The whole artifact asks us an alarming question about totalitarian icons: can a
possibility to saddle and slave a dictator´s icon be exciting? I expect the spectators
are going to ask themselves the same question.
Apart from being a popular spectacle for people the carousel also symbolizes the
fact that the history is constantly repeating. Currently there are authoritative
regimes in the world that don’t respect human rights, like Burma, Sudan, North
Korea, etc. There are still numbers of work camps where the regime keeps
inconvenient people who are spending their short lives in terrible conditions.
The carousel is designed to be and an interactive installation.
The figures are life-sized and hyper-realistic, laminated and from wood. The
carousel will be rotating.
Five figures, rotating mechanism, electric motor.
Proportions: 350x350 cm
BUDGET overview: 10 000 GBP for the rotating base with watchtower,electric
STATUS OF THE PROJECT: 4 figures (Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Kim Jong-un) are
completed; the remaining 1 figure (Idi Amin Dada, Mobutu Sese Seco ?) is
preparing to be made.
Adolf Hitler
Iosif Vissarionovich Jugashvili, Stalin
Mao Tse-tung
Kim Jong-un