Julien LaVerdiere


I have always been fascinated with the lost meaning of the Roman republic's classical iconography and how it has tumbled its way from tyrannical Western empire to empire as a great stubborn hot potato. Virtually identical eagle statuary has adorned Napoleonic France, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and, of course, the Federal U.S. This icon has cycled through history like a solitary carousel animal trapped in a closed loop of nation- alistic delirium.

Lost Corner Stone is the title of this act of irrational exuberance. This project was site- and time- specific: the decadent comforts of a Chelsea gallery and the dawn of the Iraq War. It all seemed to make perfect sense at the time. Like drying lettuce in a salad spinner, I was slinging the meaning right out of this lost artifact to demonstrate the timeworn tradition of "Damnatio Memoriae," (Damnation of Memory), a term coined in Imperial Rome for the futile act of toppling the obsolete statues of out-of-work emperors. Like it or not, we are trapped on the same merry-go-round of history, and in those days as today, power doesn't change hands with grace.