Act of Oblivion (2012)

01-frederick_duke_of_york

Frederick Duke of York

02-queen_charlotte

Queen Charlotte

03-sir_hugh_myddelton

Sir Hugh Myddelton

04-florence_nightingale

Florence Nightingale

05-spencer-compton

Spencer Compton

06-sydney_herbert

Sydney_Herbert

07-mahatma_gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

08-charles_james_fox

Charles James Fox

09-george_washington

George Washington

10-earl_roberts

Earl Roberts

Churchill

Churchill

11-abraham_lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

13-john_first_lord_lawrence

John First Lord Lawrence

12-nelson_mandela

Nelson Mandela

14-yuri_gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

“The art of forgetting is a high and delicate enterprise, demanding astute judgement about what to keep and what to let go, to salvage or to shred, to memorialise or to anathematise. (…) To forget is as essential as to keep things in mind, for no individual or collectivity can afford to remember everything.”

David Lowenthal

Monuments are part of a collective memory, yet often they have been erected to avoid the need for active commemoration. Their location may hint at the objectives of the generation commissioning the effigy of the notable person to be cast in bronze or cut out of stone. Is the memorial placed in the remotest corner of a park or in a prominent spot? Does the height elevate the person to show them respect, or just to get them sufficiently out of sight? The plaques identifying the dignitary often indicate only their name and are not helpful to explain whatever mandated their place in history.

I approached the statues as closely as possible and photographed them from the average height of an adult. As all context is removed, only the resulting perspective gives a hint on the statues’ placement.