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Viktor Koen


New York, USA
viktor@viktorkoen.com
Damsel No. 3
38" x 69"

Artist Statement: Traditional war memorials have adhered to a strict code of remembrance: commemorate the dead by distancing death; achieve public consensus through the application of a conservative aesthetic. If truth is the casualty in these classic depictions, a greater good remains permanently enshrined: consolation for the bereaved and the elevation of the fallen to cult status. Society needs to rally youth that must fight future wars and these monumental odes to martyrdom provide the necessary inspiration.

Damsels in Armor is a civics lesson of another order: 24 unsanctioned monuments testifying to war's truly brutal cost. Rising above the detritus of battle, these damsels bear witness to the inevitable price of engagement; no suit of armor can shield them from the acid scars of battle, now permanently etched on their once beautiful faces. Triumph's glory has proved to be transient. Corrosion defaces, distorts, reveals. This gallery of figures forces us to acknowledge a reality understandably edited for commissioned monuments: every victory is Pyrrhic.

A fusion of sculptural elements, weapons and armor, these "victory" compositions have historical roots in works like Nike of Samothrace and DeLacroix's celebrated painting "Liberty leading the people". Elements and details were juxtaposed digitally for a seamless, almost painterly finish, traditional in its look, if unorthodox in content. The damsels faces were selected from '40's and '50's commercial photography, another era when truth was glamorized for mass consumption. Original photography of armaments was done on site at the Arms and Armor Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York City Police Museum, and the War Museum of Greece.
Damsel No. 6
38" x 69"

Damsel No. 15
38" x 69"

Damsel No. 19
38" x 69"