Monumental Bling

2013

The rise of Communism in the twentieth century led to the erecting of statues of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin around the world, making him the most monumentalized individual in history. Monumental Bling reexamines the legacy of the revolutionary leader as the unraveling of Communism has brought about the subsequent toppling of these monuments. This proposal for a public intervention attempts to revive Lenin through a rebranding of his public image for the twenty-first century — reuniting toppled fragmented Lenin monuments to their revolutionary comrades, other monuments who have survived the onslaught of political change and are still standing.

Beginning with one of the first dismantled monuments of Lenin — removed from Leninplatz, East Berlin in 1991 — TPG plan to acquire the head of the monument, plate it in gold, and hang it from an oversized Cuban-link chain on the 27-meter tall Lenin statue in Volgograd Russia — the largest remaining in the world. In preparation, the group has created a set of large scaled architectural maquettes depicting the process of beheading, blinging, and installing the transformed head of the Leninplatz sculpture.

The gold pendant, amplified to a monumental scale, references various methods of portraying power throughout history — royal jewels, war medals, etc. — and the appropriation of these tactics through the ostentation and exaggeration of hip-hop culture. Alluding to diamond-encrusted Jesus pieces and rapper Rick Ross’s pendant portraits of himself, TPG’s proposed monumental bling explores the border between identity and ornamentation, tracing the malleability of personality in the public sphere.

ARTWORK SPECS

Monumental Bling: Lenin East Berlin on Lenin Volgograd
76.2cm x 101.6cm. Archival pigment print.

Monumental Bling: Lenin East Berlin on Lenin Volgograd
50cm x 20cm x 20 cm / 108cm x 40cm x 40cm.
Composite with gold-plating.

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