Who is Pink Lenin?

It could be the most recognizable object in the Museum. And that’s likely what the creators of this piece had in mind -both when it was first cast and later when it was given a brand new face….

Originally produced in the mid 1960’s, this V. I Lenin bust was identical to many others –
economically plaster-cast, painted dark to resemble a bronze patina, and displayed in public places for eons to come, recognizably patriotic like a country flag, or revered like a religious symbol. 

Over twenty years later, this bust had something like a mid-life crisis and was reinvented, changing identities and joining the fashion of the 1980’s – anti-establishment uprisings, democracy , and of course, hot pink and turquoise.

While other symbols of the communist regime were mutilated with intended erasure when the Iron Curtain fell, this bust was slated for longevity – this time representing something very different from its original purpose.

Sprayed with western paint in a 1989 Leipzig uprising, the bust was made to mock the very rhetoric it had once promoted. And what could be more effective? Destroy a symbol
it may soon be forgotten, but alter its meaning and that meaning will live on. In the manipulation of symbols, the very personal, even intimate, expression made by one
individual can speak volumes against an entire regime.

Pink Lenin is part of a collection of similar Iconoclash pieces – objects that have been manipulated to alter their meaning. Some such alterations were State -sponsored, and some, like Pink Lenin, rose out of raw human expression. An exhibition of this collection is slated to premier in Washington, D.C. in 2009.

Stay tuned for previews!

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One Response to Who is Pink Lenin?

  1. Pingback: Aus meinem Leben | From the Vault

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