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Citizens

Curator: Neta Gal-Azmon 6.4.2017 - 5.8.2017

In this provocative self-reflexive video Cliff Evans assembles the flag of the United States from images of military drones, which appear toy- and child-like up to the moment they are identified as armaments. These sophisticated unmanned aircraft are used as a means of surveillance and attack. In Evans's work, they hover in the air, seemingly awaiting an order, coming together and disassembling, intermittently constructing and deconstructing an image of the American flag.
In Flag, Evans — whose work is based (in his own words) on "stealing," duplicating, and attaching Internet images to form a collage — cites an eponymous painting by Jasper Johns, one of the harbingers of American Pop art. Johns's American flag appears, at first sight, like a banal copy; only a closer look reveals signs of criticism toward the consolidating national symbol. The stratified, creamy brush strokes and the newspaper clippings inserted in the painting place it in the 1950s, the years of McCarthyism and the early Cold War. For Johns and others in that period, the American flag represented not only the dramatic struggle between the Eastern and the Western blocs, but also the pernicious censorship, the infringement of the freedom of expression, the political and personal persecutions in the name of patriotism. Evans shifts Johns's painted iconic flag to the technological medium, thus lending it an even greater subversive, perhaps somewhat paranoid, significance which reflects the socio-political situation in the beginning of the 21st century.


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