Sep. 10, 2011
Three BlacksmithsHelsinki, FinlandIntervention: 2011.08
Three Blacksmiths Square takes its name from the statue donated                      to the city by the Pro Helsingfors Foundation in 1932. According to Virtual Helsinki, It                      was paid for by Julius Tallberg, who had a shop on the Square                      until the 1980s.
Nude public sculptures, especially of men, are not so common in the United States, which is unhealthily prudish about such matters.  Is it because I come from such a background that this statue looks homoerotic to me?  What does it say about me and my background that I, as a gay man, immediately want to jump into the statue and relate myself to it?  Would queer men from less homophobic countries feel the same urge?   I would like to think that my silly, grinning presence at the base queers the statue, for at least for a moment.   

Three Blacksmiths
Helsinki, Finland
Intervention: 2011.08

Three Blacksmiths Square takes its name from the statue donated to the city by the Pro Helsingfors Foundation in 1932. According to Virtual Helsinki, It was paid for by Julius Tallberg, who had a shop on the Square until the 1980s.

Nude public sculptures, especially of men, are not so common in the United States, which is unhealthily prudish about such matters.  Is it because I come from such a background that this statue looks homoerotic to me?  What does it say about me and my background that I, as a gay man, immediately want to jump into the statue and relate myself to it?  Would queer men from less homophobic countries feel the same urge?   I would like to think that my silly, grinning presence at the base queers the statue, for at least for a moment.   

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  1. icouldbeinpictures posted this
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About
This project started as a response to seeing a family in an art museum, all wanting to get their photo taken by a famous work of art. We all do this, don't we, wanting to be have ourselves appear next to the Mona Lisa or Andy Warhol's soup cans? And when we take our own photographs next to public sculptures, famous buildings, aren't we doing exactly the same thing?

Our personal involvement with art, in such cases, clearly is not just as a viewer. We enter into the space of a painting, drawing, photograph, sculpture, or piece of architecture and thus we change it slightly, though our own performance. (I say this, even though most of our performances are extremely routine--a smile after the word "cheese." Perhaps sometimes, we might raise our hands in a two-finger peace sign.) In some cases, when the viewer uses the self-timer or snaps the shutter himself, he even crosses the line to occupy the space of the "artist" by himself creating a new photograph himself.

This space shows a number of photos I have taken--simple, unadorned, spontaneous, and often cheesy--as a way to investigate the shifting and surprisingly complicated involvement between viewer and work of art, especially at the moment of blurring when the viewer inserts himself or herself into the space of the art.

In these photos, I am viewer as well as viewed, observer as well as observed. I am the recipient of some famous artist's work, yet by pressing the shutter of my camera, I also occupy and reinterpret that work in my own performative act of creation.

Jeffrey Angles
jeffreyinkalamazoo@gmail.com
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