The Dutch artist Arjen van Lith, emigrated to the US, has created a huge brutalist Trump head and gold, but of plastic, as a symbol of ‘beheaded’ power
Claims are not inherited. The statues neither. That is why they are decapitated, because they are as vulnerable as the political and moral values they represent and strive to immortalize. A Donald Trump he failed to inaugurate statues in his honor before losing, a few days ago, the elections to his second legislature in front of Joe Biden. The one dedicated to artist and dutch writer Arjen van Lith (1971) was born like that, like a decapitated head. Because as an immigrant in the United States you cannot vote, but you can express your opinion and your opinion is that Trump and what he represents should end in the container.
“The demolition of statues is one of the most powerful symbols of popular powerIt is a revolutionary act in many ways. It reflects a change of mind in society, such as the fall of the Confederate statues in the USA this summer, after the assassination of George Floyd. People knocked down symbols of hatred and division. Donald Trump is a symbol of hatred and division”Explains the Dutch artist and writer Arjen van Lith (1971) on the expiration of what seems immutable. Van Lith moved to Austin, Texas, in 2013, where a long line of vehicles with Trump flags chased the Biden-Harris bus a few months ago and blocked its path. Democrats called off the Austin campaign rallies and Trump tweeted, “I love Texas.”
Arjen van Lith has lived in Pittsburgh for a year, a small blue stain that resists (by very few votes) on the red map of the State of Pennsylvania, dominated by the supporters of the dethroned president, as if it were the Gallic village of Asterix. The home state of the new Democratic president, industrial heart of the known as “US rust belt”, has been vital for the biden win for the 20 electoral delegates that accumulated after a count of heart attack.
“As a Dutch immigrant in the US I cannot vote, but I can still make my opinion heard. Trump is a disaster to me and should be eliminated and thrown away”, Acknowledges ICON Design the artist. Arjen van Lith has made a statue of Trump’s head of almost two meters of plastic and has been placing it in garbage containers, car cemeteries and junkyards, “because I wanted to make a political statement.” It has located squalor on the streets of Pittsburgh and Braddock, a small town that used to be the center of the American steel industry. “Now it is almost deserted. The buildings are collapsing. It looks very, very sad. Trump is very popular there: he promised to take back the steel industry, which of course he did not do. It’s impossible, it’s a thing of the past ”, says the artist.
It is not a hyper-realistic head, but “brutalist, very severe and geometric”, which further underlines the symbol. Not only does Trump fall, but everything he represents: the “Make America Great Again”. The statues emphasize the cult of the symbol and ignore critical knowledge of the past. That is why his overthrow is a symbol against domination, political passivity and the idea of governmental resistance action. This is what the Romans called “damnation of memory” (“Condemnation of memory”) and served to make political enemies disappear from the public map. They assumed that the figures could be ruined if one moral and political tone was overthrown by another.
This is what Arjen van Lith has done, a damnation of memory with this three millimeter thick plastic head. Goodbye to marble and bronze. “It has a metallic gold vinyl finish,” says the artist. The gold finish is a choice that reflects the taste of the former president. “He likes bright and flashy things. Personally, I think it’s in bad taste, but I wanted to do the most trumpy possible, ”says Van Lith. His father said of him that everything his son touched seemed to turn to gold. And Trump loves gold. It’s in your family life, on your furniture, your name on the fuselage of your jet Private, the Trump International Tower in Las Vegas is completely gold, and the Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City was also that color before closing. Gold is in all parts of his history, and in his books: Midas Touch (2011). The Trump Tower, from New York, has large gold lettering above the front door, and the triplex where he lives with Melania and their youngest son is awash in gold motifs. Your favorite James Bond movie is Goldfinger (1965).