Gleaned from such diverse countries as Nicaragua, South Africa, world powers such as the United States and Russia, and even unlikely manufacturers such as Canada and Switzerland, Gun Sculpture is both a microcosm of the political and economic history of the world since the twentieth century, and an imposing monument to the bloodshed on which that history was forged.
From the exterior, Gun Sculpture resembles an ornamented version of Tony Smith’s Minimalist steel sculpture Die (1962), or more recently Palestinian artist, Mona Hatoum’s Socle du Monde (1992-93) made of magnets and iron filings. But where Smith and Hatoum’s life-sized cubes are decidedly closed structures, Gun Sculpture can be entered. Evoking the constriction of a prison cell, its stark interior is lined with panels of steel mesh, while the floor is a mosaic of flattened weapons set into concrete tiles.
Heavy and commanding as it is, Gun Sculpture has nevertheless had a surprisingly mobile existence, having traveled to Hanover for Expo 2000, to Seoul, where it was exhibited at the Nobel Peace Prize celebration, to the United Nations headquarters in New York in 2001. At each location, Bromley and Kendal invite visitors to log their responses on a blackboard that accompanies the installation. This public interaction acts as a form of free expression and exchange to counteract the covert transactions by which weapons circulate.
Amanda Boetzkes, 2010
Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory,
Department of Art and Design, University of Alberta,
Author of Ethics of Earth Art, 2010