The theme of this show is “reflections”. On the most literal level this image, The Tomb of the Unknown Punk Rocker, contains reflections in the rain sodden concrete of the base on which it stands. However the much more pertinent “reflections” is the reason for building it. I began this project over the winter as a comment on the number of statues to undistinguished military men or politicians that we see around the place and a desire that the UK would do more to celebrate our contributions to world culture rather than to war, politics and privilege; hence this celebration of punk rock. The concept of this “Tomb” sporting a mohican is also a strong visual image and a few more sparky monuments around the place will do much to liven the landscape. I had planned that I would be able to get a whole series of images of the Tomb in various locations but this photograph, taken in February, was one of the few that I managed before lockdown.
The incongruity of the image appeals, the idea that one could come across this quiet tomb almost accidentally, that it would jar the viewer out of their reverie and there would be an element of a romantic sense of loss, of lost youth, of lost time, but there is still an edge of wildness about it too.
The reaction to the subject matter of some of the nation’s existing statues has of course taken quite a lively course in the last month. I did not expect my contribution to the debate to be so topical but am thrilled that it is!
The actual “Tomb” is built with my collaborator Si Higgins and is full size but will fit (just) into a transit van so that we can get it to locations relatively easily. We arrive, unload the “Tomb”, take our photos then back into the van and we are away, the only record is the photograph. Now that lockdown is easing the prospect of getting to our next two locations is getting enticingly nearer. We have a location high in Snowdonia mapped out and a beach location with the lonely sea in the background. As more people see these photos we are receiving many suggestions for possible future locations. We are always glad to hear from any co-conspirators.