sand cement steel wood glue
102 x 160cm
collection: Private Collection
War an Peace
In this work I wanted to act and behave as a naughty child would. I pretended that some group of concerned people had written a moralistic slogan on a wall: '1% Chance of Peace Deserves 100% Effort'. (I had heard this one-liner during a television debate on the BBC.) I then substituted the word 'Peace' for 'War', added the word 'God', erased it, and replaced it with the names 'Bush', 'Cheney', 'Rumsfeld', 'Blair' and 'Straw' (the American and British politicians who supported the Iraq war). So it was a process of making mischief by tampering with this slogan.
My watching TV and listening to the news every day influenced many of my works, because these news broadcasts were a rich source of often ambiguous slogans and phrases. Jack Straw, the British Foreign secretary, attacked the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dominique de Villepin, at the United Nations, for not agreeing to send French troops to fight in Iraq. Straw almost came to blows with Villepin when he declared, 'France has decided to take another course of action. We will act on the United Nations' recommendation, and there is therefore no need for us to enter into this war'. Straw was outraged, blurting out 'but everything is so obvious! Can't you see that Saddam Hussein is evil .?' That's how I came up with the slogan and the name of the piece: NOTHING IS OBVIOUS. Another reason I scratched out 'Peace' and replaced it with 'War' was that the allies didn't give peace a chance, not even 1%. That's why the work can also be referred to as '1% Chance of War Deserves 100% Effort'. Although they wanted the Western world to believe the war was ordained by God, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair and Straw were the people who made it happen.
I chose to work with sand to reflect the geography of Iraq. At the same time I wanted to point out that Iraq is the third-biggest oil producer in the world (after Canada and Saudi Arabia), and America is not featured among the top ten on the list, although it is at the head of the ranking of states possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Israel has over 100 WMD, yet nobody is making a fuss about that, and the evidence points to Iraq's having none. It appears America is telling itself that Iraq's oil belongs to the United States, and that it shouldn't be sitting under sand that belongs to someone else. It all comes down to a sad process of playing with words to win what I believe is not a moral but a financial advantage.