new works in the Propaganda series continue the themes
established in the Gods of Commerce series, but focus
on the selling of ideology or “truth” rather
than the sale of products. In the Gods of Commerce works,
I concentrated on using pre-existing trademarks and
logos that used mythology as a means of establishing
a sales platform for current consumer culture and products.
With the Propaganda series I have widened the net from
products to ideology and the permeable nature of truth.
The best efforts of painters, writers and graphic designers
have historically been used to promote often diametrically
opposed versions of “truth”. Like mythology
or religion the version of political truth that becomes
the most accepted, or the most popular in a society
frequently reigns as indisputable; at least until the
next paradigm shift.
The connection to Pop Art in this new work remains strong.
I use images and words taken from actual propaganda
posters from a variety of countries and put them together
in graphically interesting ways. In some ways propaganda
appeals to the lowest common denominator in any country
in the same way as flashy ad campaigns or cartoon strips,
they work best if the viewer reacts without thinking
too much. The similarities between German, American,
Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Japanese propaganda are
amazing. Each country preys upon the fear of the other.
Each country uses racial profiling to demean the enemy.
Each country calls up patriotic fervor to defend the
motherland and its way of life. Each country calls for
the support of its citizens for the army and a common
goal. In the 1960’s Andy Warhol used images of
Chairman Mao as part of a wildly successful capitalist,
market-driven campaign to rule the “art world”,
thus creating an amazing and lasting bit of visual irony.
I have revisited the consumerist vs. capitalist argument
and enlarged it to bring into focus the irony of polemic
truths living side-by-side on the same tea pot.
Hansen detailed statement