Go Home Bacchus, by Dmitri Obergfell, is a 12-foot tall statue of the Greco-Roman god Bacchus, turned on its head and smattered with paint. The work reflects on the complexities and histories of two forms of public communication—monuments and vandalism—and demonstrates how they have come together to establish a reflexive public discourse and aesthetic.
Monuments memorialize an idealized interpretation of a person, place, or event that has affected the trajectory of history. Generally constructed for permanence and representative of complex narratives, monuments can be oversimplified and dogmatic. As a result of monuments’ irrefutable nature, they are unable to adapt to changing socio-political landscapes and risk becoming symbols of outdated beliefs. Evidence of such can be seen in the toppling of Lenin statues after the 2014 Ukraine revolution; or the dismantling of the statue of Saddam Hussain by American forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq; or the destruction of King Louis XV monuments in 18th-century Paris during the French Revolution. Such iconoclasm has occurred since the beginning of civilization. The highly visible and symbolic nature of monuments makes them magnets for vandalism. Vandalism is regarded as illegal activity, and, at the same time, as anonymous communication by the public. Vandalized monuments can be read as weathervanes of political currents, and fallen monuments can mark historic change.
Obergfell, a 2010 graduate of RMCAD, is an artist whose work explores currents that flow through historical, political, and philosophical narratives. Appropriating symbols and objects across history and cultural backgrounds, his works reconstitute their meaning to describe contemporary ideological constructs. Obergfell’s works have been recently included in ‘Thief Among Thieves’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (2015), CAFÉ Flesh at Parallel Vienna (2015) and Back to the Future at Casa Maauad (Mexico City). Solo exhibitions of note include Yinfinity at Gildar Gallery (2015) and Visigoths (2013) at Upp Contemporary in Venice, Italy. He has previously exhibited at the Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, California (2014), the Parco Foundation in Treviso Italy (2013), and the Futura Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, Czech Republic (2012), among other venues. Obergfell is currently a resident artist at RedLine Denver.
Go Home Bacchus will move from BMoCA to RMCAD’s campus in August of 2017.
Description of Dmitri Obergfell courtesy of the BMoCA website.