REVEL BANJOS
 

Haeckel's Nightmare
#34  2010
 

The starting idea for this banjo came from Tim Hicks, a Californian Musician. In July 2007 he gave me this idea and challenge: "Build me a banjo thatís aesthetics comes from a modern idea of the future thatís based on the 1950ís pop-culture idea of the future.  I feel this aesthetic is artistically significant because, to many, the actual future was much more grim than the idyllic pop-culture view of my parents generation.  One canít help but compare the present, which is so often colored by the sorry state of the environment and international politics, with the idyllic future of the 1950ís. The banjo I want you to make is one that is constructed as if it actually existed in a modern idyllic future."

Quite a difficult challenge wasn't it?!! After a long time of thinking, drawing and looking around in the 50's aesthetics, I finally came up with this idea which is quite far from Tim's wish!!! He did not seem to care much anyway, thanks to his flexibility and his patience! (But it's not so far from his original idea after all...) The banjo has been partly inspired by the wonderful artwork of Ernst Haeckel, a Prussian biologist who lived from 1834 to 1919 (about the golden years of 5 string banjos by the way...) and who is considered to be one of the fathers of Ecology.

My starting idea was to confront two different worlds, one more elaborate, organised and sophisticated and the other one simpler, wilder and unpredictable, one being a threat to the other. These two worlds could be related to Ecology, Politics, Financial crisis or more abstract topics. It stays open. But you are free and very welcome to see and understand anything else which comes to your mind. Sometimes you can find unexpected echoes that you would not have thought of in the first place. (For example, on a more down-to-earth level, it could recall the huge oil leak sadly spoiling the sea life in the gulf of Mexico!... Strange coincidence, isn't it, as it has been drawn much longer before it happened)

 

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