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Listasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavik Art Museum

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Erró

Battle of Kyoto / Orrustan um Kyoto

Year
1974
Height
210 cm
Width
200 cm
Category
Málverk
Sub-category
Lakkmálverk

This piece is based on the interaction of two images. In the bottom half, Erró replicated an erotic print by Isoda Koryusai of a man and six women in sexual congress. In the top half he painted a war scene from an American comic strip of the 1950s. Thus the West is represented in the top part, insane with bloodlust, militant rage, gunshots and explosions all in virulent, sharply contrasting colours. The East resides in the lower half of the picture: sex without guilt, playful and sophisticated, contemplative faces and exact movements, all painted in a muted colour palette. These two scenes are unified with a graphical technique in which the line is paramount; the diagonal line from the bottom right corner of the painting passes through both groups and blends into the picture space. One may wonder whether the interplay of the two parts of the painting represents the slogan of pacifists and anarchists in the sixties: Make Love Not War. Or perhaps the two parts can be read as parallels? Then the erotic scene becomes a war in disguise and the war scene a kind of erotic celebration.

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