Political and Historical Reflection Through Art

The sculpture “Anger Management”,  2018, by the artists ELMGREEN & DRAGSET was shown at Thaddaeus Ropac in 2019 at the culmination of the Brexit negotiations, in an exhibition entitled “United Artists for Europe” as well as at Frieze London in that same year.
The punch bag sculpture, is through its irony and humour, asking people to take out their anger on a punch bag representing a construct of fear—instead of attacking people and the construct of ‘other’.
It is a work of art that can help us reflect today on the effects of a political decision. With gas and food prices rising, fishing conflicts, war knocking at Europe’s door, perhaps looking back at why Europe came together may help us find our way back into, if not political togetherness, a humanitarian togetherness.
The Council of Europe was first created in 1949 after WW2 to avoid war, to create a long lasting peace, guided by the values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (more on this soon).
Peace is one of the main reasons Europe came together the way it did.
Furthermore, according to Greek Mythology, the name Europe comes from the name Europa, who was a Phoenician princess and as the mythology relays, was the daughter of Argiope, King of Tyre (today in Lebanon), abducted by Zeus, who had transformed into a bull, taking Europa with him to Crete, where he then transformed back into man.
Mythology or not, it showcases the diverse history that makes a continent, where people have always connected.
Politics seems to want to define itself, yet a definition of love and humanity should feature at the core of that definition, for what other reason should politics have?

Picture taken at Frieze London Art Fair of sculpture  “Anger Management”,  2018, created by the artists ELMGREEN & DRAGSET


Words © Art Breath / Nour Saleh