Good Toast Bad Taste 2012

Mixed media sculptureMixed media: 1920s oak table, carved ebony bookends, toaster, books and chess board
107.5 x 58 x 57.5 cm

Hitler’s War, Volumes 1 & 2 by revisionist historian and holocaust denier, David Irving have been inserted in a toaster ready for incineration. The toaster design is reminiscent of the Art Deco period. A three cornered enamelled (trinacria) swastika the symbol of the Afrikaner Weerstand Beweging AWB in South Africa adorns the side of the toaster and acts as a brand. This symbol embodies a later South African version of Nazi ideology and is the natural offspring of its parent, the four legged swastika, itself appropriated by the Nazi., The toaster and books are flanked by two ebony bookends. They are the carved heads of an African male and female. These curios date from the colonial period of European domination in Africa probably between the 1930’s to the 1950’s and would have been deemed highly inappropriate sentinels for the content of these books. The toaster and bookends are placed on a chessboard: the playing field for the enactment of the political game. These are supported by an austere (Germanic) oak table plinth, which is original to the thirties.

Heinrich Heine’s famous statement from his 1821 play Almansor, “Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.” (That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also.”) has an application in this sculpture, especially in the light of the ideas propounded by the revisionist historian David Irving, who is currently banned from entering Australia. I am here suggesting that it is appropriate to (symbolically) burn certain books; to utilise the same methods as the Nazis themselves did but to eradicate their ideas. It is for the viewer to decide on their own position in relation to revisionism.