Bollard City, a solo exhibition by Georgian-born artist, Nina Sanadze, opens on Saturday 17 March at Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West, and explores how bollards have become the new icons of our time.
“Bollards are a symbol of terrorism and the war on terror alike. Functionally necessary as a form of protection, they are inadvertently a symbol of tragedy and a monument to those who died in terrorist acts. In this sense bollards represent desperation, impending danger, fear, paranoia, loss of freedom and restriction of democracy. They are also symbols of ignorance, primitive brutality and intolerance,” Sanadze said.
“Until a few years ago, most of us, apart from local government workers and traffic engineers, had ever heard of bollards and certainly not as a counter-terrorist device.”
In her exhibition, Sanadze will place replica bollards used by many countries into the gallery space as powerful reflection of our time.
“I am creating an imitation of various designs in order to resemble a cityscape, a demolition site and a cemetery. Some will be life-sized, others enlarged,” Sanadze said.
“Viewers might feel compelled to navigate through the installation, sometimes finding themselves at ‘dead ends’ or having to squeeze through the narrow passages.”
Through this experience, Sanadze invites viewers to examine ideas about threat, fear and control and consider at what point anti-terrorist measures make us unnecessarily afraid, and erode our civil liberties.
“Bollard City explores our deeply seated personal anxieties about the transition from Australia as a safe place to one of uncertainty and how freedom in public spaces can conflict with our desire to be safe. The exhibition also examines how this change is affecting our behaviour in public space. My fear is that bollards will clutter the city until it becomes dysfunctional and threatening,” she said.
Peter Mares, a writer and researcher will launch the exhibition at 3pm Saturday 17 March. The exhibition runs to 25 March and ithe gallery is open for 5 days only.