The Machiavelli series was initiated by an off-handed remark. The young and burgeoning post-Wall Berlin art world where I was living in the nineties was immensely competitive. My ironic observation to a friend was that what was required was Machiavelli, but in that context, a special Machiavelli “for kids.” I produced the text and the 31 small oil paintings that visualized it in a matter of weeks. The project seemed to expand of its own accord. A Child's Machiavelli was eventually published in 3 languages and several editions. Although it is out of print, I recently learned that it has become part of a high-school curriculum, as means of teaching young people political philosophy.
A Child's Machiavelli began as a series of paintings, imaginary pages from what I envisioned as a first-grade primer instructing the uninitiated on how to seize and hold power. I tried to keep precisely to Machiavelli's original aphorisms for the Prince, which he wrote in the 16th century as words of wisdom for a young king. Babyrap (1996) was music inspired by it, a sound work in which a sugary sweet infant, played by me, morphed into “Rosemary's baby,” then back again. It was produced in collaboration with Assassin, the French hip-hop band. The next step was animation, about which I new nothing at that time. In fact, the impulse behind my learning animation was to create a Machiavelli series, intended for MTV. Although I did ultimately create a series of short animations, my first work in 3D, ultimately it transformed my artwork rather than bringing me into the commercial context as I thought it might.
Book Editions A Child's Machiavelli, Penguin Editions, New York, 1998 Le Petit Machiavel illustré, Abbeville Press, Paris, 1998 Machiavelli für Kids, Edition Nautilus, Hamburg, 1995
A Child's Machiavelli, The John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, 1998
Galerie Wohnmachine, Berlin, 1996
Fonds Regional d'Art Contemporain de Haute Normandie, Rouen, France, 1996 A Child's Machiavelli, Kunstlerhaus Am Acker e.V., produced by the Realismus Studio, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin, 1995 A Child's Machiavelli, Galerie Christian Gögger, Munich, 1995
A Child's Machiavelli, 1996, installation shot,
Fonds Regional d'Art Contemporain de Haute Normandie, Rouen, France
with 31 paintings, each 18” x 12,” oil on linen. + view high res image
Only Let People See You Doing Stuff When You Come Off Really Good,
1996, 18” x 12,” oil on linen. + view high res image
Only give things away when people are watching, 1999-2002, animation based on A Child's Machiavelli, with music by Nino Rota from The Godfather.
If You Wanna Take Over Some Place, 1999-2002, animation based on A Child's Machiavelli, with music by Nino Rota from The Godfather.