One question pop up to my mind after I finished reading this piece. Where is the voice of the Molotov Man? Since the topic is on the right of “Molotov Man”, why there are only the original photographer’s and a painter’s voices heard?
When Susan tried to defend the Molotov Man’s position, trying to contextualize her photography, did she even ask what his attitude towards his image being reproduced again and again? Perhaps she is right, but chances are that this man does not hate what people are doing to turn him to a iconic figure. On the other hand, when all those artists symbolizes this Molotov Man, have they every thought of the feelings of this man?Or probably they did not even know where this originally come from.
Basically I am for all those artists(decontexualizing), because in my opinion that every time this figure was reproduced, it was no longer the original piece. In art, especially painting and photography, imitation seems everywhere. My view here is kind of passive since I think if this is a trend that one could not stop and I don’t see much injustice here, then what’s wrong with decontextualisation? Here’s an example of a Chinese figure, which does not reconcile with the Molotov Man in the professional art category and in that the figure has been dead for so long. There are very popular kuso pictures of Du Fu(a Chinese ancient poet) on the internet. The poet who appears in textbooks has been put on weird clothes and forced to make funny postures. (I made a screen shot here) It’s true that one might say this person no longer lives, so how could we know if he cares to be made fun of in this way.
The example of the various version of Dufu is made on purpose. Creators knew where the original figure came from. Yet in the Molotov Man’s case, there’s another problem with this painter. He tried decontextualisation, to forget about the original photography. He did not put the photo in front of him when he made his own art. In other words, this figure is printed deeply in his mind. One of my friend once told me that every time she tried to write a song and recorded the melody, she was afraid that what she thought was her original creation is actually some existing tune buried deep in her head. My writing teacher(Chinese) once told me that one first had to read, to memorize, to accumulate to a certain amount, then one could create and write stuff. Knowledge is passed on between our brains that many times an idea poping into our mind does not really have originality. Same applies to the category of art works. An artist should be prepared to see fragments of his/her work to be captured and recreated by others.
If Susan really wants to defend the original intend of this photograph, she should probably first ask herself that has she ever done the same thing to other people’s work? Has she asked the opinion of the man in the photo?