Cultures are shared systems of language and meanings. Each culture is symbolically coded and we, as evolved human beings, developed a universal human capacity to classify experiences; encoding and communicating them through motifs/symbols. We use icons to express our spirituality; feelings; the metaphysical aspect of real events; ideals; interests. Symbols of different cultures spread easily from one group of people to another whilst altering their initial meaning.
Using the language of graphic design and the technique of stencilling and process-led entropy, this study explores the symbolic meaning of Meandros (a decorative border constructed from a continuous line, shaped into a repeated motif) and its social symbolism in relation to time. Meandros is a common pattern that has appeared throughout a variety of civilizations such as ancient Greece, the Roman Empire and ancient China. Alongside other uses it is utilised in contemporary Greece by the Nationalist group Golden Dawn to link its party to ancient Greece, empire and right-wing ideologies.
Nationalism is a historical cyclical phenomenon. The current rise of fascism in Europe is considered another cycle in a pattern of nationalism arising out of social discord that has been triggered by an economic crisis and imperialistic propaganda. The visual depiction of the periodic pattern of the phenomenon is represented by the vanishing of the pattern’s strength and boldness.
The repeated stencilling degrades the traditionally decorative symbol leaving random meaningless marks. The final boards can be read in both directions, from left to right the symbol disintegrates, from right to left it disappears into the white wall behind. The brand identity of Golden Dawn has been adapted so that the leaves that normally surround the meandros are inside its path, this in turn provides a foothold for the paint that will eventually block the stencil and symbol.
A few words about ''agent'' Tom Gallant
Tom Gallant is a British, London based artist. Holding a MA Fine Art Print from Camberwell College of Art & Design he had his first solo show at Museum 52 in 2004. His practice explores images and motifs that connect to man’s inhumanity and its influence on visual culture. Selected exhibitions include: a tree is best measured when it is down, Darbyshire Framemakers, London and The Wreck of Hope, House of St Barnabas, London. He is currently working towards a major installation at Manchester Art Gallery for 2017.
Tom Gallant official website www.tom-gallant.com