Phil Toledano: Kim Jong Phil


For years now, I’ve been thinking (on a Woody Allen level of obsession) what it means to be an artist. (more)

I reflect on the elaborate psychological mechanisms required to pursue something so elusive, so ambiguous. I alternate between wild confidence, sure and definite in my belief that i’m onto something, and wild despair. My ideas are shit. They’re relevant to no-one but myself. I often wonder: ‘Am I talking to myself?’

I’ve never made work for other people. But as an artist, I need to be in dialogue with the world that exists beyond my overpopulated cranium.

I’ve concluded that to be effective-to be functional-I must guzzle an eye-popping cocktail of delusion and narcissism.

It occurred to me that being an artist is a great deal like being a dictator.

Just like a dictator, I must live in a closed loop of self-delusion. A place where my words and ideas always ring true. A gilded daydream of grandiosity. There can be no room for doubt. I must be convinced that I have something vital to say. I must believe that the world is waiting in keen anticipation to hear my message.

For my palette, I’ve copied pre-existing dictatorial art. Paintings from North Korea, statues of assorted dictators (Kim Il Sung, Laurent Kabilla, and Saddam Hussein). I had these works re-created in China, and each instance, I’ve replaced the great leaders with myself.

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