SCOTT STEPHANOFF, born 1971
Battlelines and Fortification, 1995
Stephanoff installed his work in this space because the museum's collection of armor is usually displayed here. While the installation functions as a replacement for the armor, it also suggests the deep connection with warfare that displays of armor in art museums often neutralize.
The work combines sophisticated technology and children's toys to indicate that people are trained to conform and defend their society from a very early age. The artist describes the ominous-looking cylinder in the center as a "castle", symbolic of sites of power protected by military might.
Video monitors extend to the perimeter of the work. They are situated on the "arms" of what appears to be a futuristic machine of aggression. When we approach the work, violent cartoon clips appear on the monitors, suggesting that the "castle" is being protected against us.
While the formation of the standing toy soldiers recalls civic spectacles celebrating military power, the strewn figures have tragic implications. They suggest that soldiers are merely the "canon fodder" for the machinery of war.
The artist wishes to thank Futuramic, the Cement Space, Michigan Metal Fabricators, Robert and Sons, Carlos Borrego, Skip Davis, Constructure
To the next artist...