Decoding Dictatorial Statues

Uitgeverij Onomatopee

With essays by:
Erika Doss
Leonor Faber-Jonker
Florian Göttke
Jintaeg Jang
Jo-Lene Ong
Martijn Wallage
Karwan Fatah-Black
Fabienne Rachmadiev
J.R. Jenkins
Tycho van der Hoog

Decoding Dictatorial Statues, a project by Korean graphic design researcher Ted Hyunhak Yoon and Bernke Klein Zandvoort, is a collection of images and texts revolving around the different ways we can look at statues in public space. How can we decode statues and their visual languages, their objecthood and materiality, their role as media icons, and their voice in political debates?

In his image analysis, Ted Hyunhak Yoon explores the cliched poses of dictatorial statues. In addition, ten authors - acting as a group of decoders - contribute a wide range of perspectives on the subject. Statues from different eras, located in different parts of the world, form the starting point for these precise dissections. For instance, what links an outbreak of cultural vandalism against a 200-year-old Vietnamese devotional subject with the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in 2011? Why would a recently liberated African country opt for a North Korean company to tell its history? How can we define historical value in regards to the removal of colonial monuments in South Africa, The Netherlands and the United States?