The 100 #55 – The Stop …

DSC03495The Stop by Chinese artist Michael Zheng was installed in a local park (just realized the visual pun inherent in its setting) as part of Vancouver’s 2009-2011 Art Biennale. It was removed last year but I have just found the photographs. Delighted to find, I was, that it fit nicely into my Text in Art, ‘The 100’ series.

DSC03496You can read the official blurb by enlarging this photo.

I passed this piece often because it was on my cycle route to art school. It became a familiar landmark for me and I always enjoyed its surreal and brightly incongruous location. I imagined children playing in the park on bicycles and tricycles using these signs in their games. I also loved watching people’s double takes as they passed by this installation. I liked that people who hadn’t seen this before did Stop to look.

We take such signs for granted but in many places in the world such signs don’t exist. In San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, where I go annually to paint, there are no Stop signs or traffic lights. Instead there are Tropes,  giant speed bumps, or as we used to call them in England, ‘Sleeping Policemen.’ In the town they are known to be the place you cross the street, because the traffic has to slow down there. On the highways they act as speed regulators.

I don’t know about your city but here the everyday Stop sign on the street has become a ground for making political statements. Stickers or stencils are applied under the word ‘Stop’ to make a point. For instance: “Killing Whales”  / “War” / “Homelessness” / “The 99%” etc, etc.

You can Stop reading now…

The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu

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16 thoughts on “The 100 #55 – The Stop …

  1. I like that notion of “subverting the power of signs”. Here in the states we are inundated by signs of all sorts (I include billboards) and I wonder sometimes if people really look at them anymore as informational/directional pieces of information and instead just view them as part of the landscape. Great post in this series. something to think about. Hope you are having a great weekend John.

    1. I think you are right about the overabundance of signs in our north American culture, however; most people still seem to obey traffic signs thank the gods. I particularly notice the extent of advertising, rules and regulations and dos and don’ts here when I arrive back from Mexico where it’s considered that people know what’s right and wrong. I guess much of it here is to do with organizations covering their butts in case of legislation against them. Thanks for your comment Terry

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