The Precarious State
2008 - 2009
Temporary installation in a public space, happening.
Work comissioned by Skor- Foundation for Art and Public Space (Amsterdam).
Curated by Olga Cordón.
The installation showcases what appears to be the result of a mass act: An accumulation of flowers spontaneously collected in a building located in one of the main and most busy streets of Amsterdam’s city centre, opening up various possible narratives. The drying out (and dying) of these signifiers is what is left to witness.
If on the one hand a bouquet of flowers stands for celebration of life, on the other it signals the very demise of life itself —conflicting signs of a universal gesture. In the display window where Polo has amassed a metastatic spring of flowers, the overwhelming symbolism of the installation seems to decree the collapse of language itself —or, alternatively, of the possibility of conveying meaning through the violent accumulation of signifiers.
In times of war, public calamity, and natural disasters, when deceit, death and sorrow seem to overshadow the prospect of promising futures, this installation functions as a re-enactment of a contemporary malaise: the conspicuous sign of universal caring as nothing but a palliative and redundant public display of guilt. Moreover, the perishing flowers before the public eye, in a shopping like window, could well be seen as the displaying of death and suffering as a commodity of sorts in media driven contemporary societies.