Machineguns in a office/shop like surrounding.
(after 4 weeks suddenly the police broke the window and confiscated all, the gallery owners and myself where charged whith making and having illigal wapons, this continues)
Apparently the police shared this opinion. For another exhibition De Bree made a number of machine guns of a familiar type that were very clearly not real and consequently could never be fired. Nevertheless De Bree and the gallery owner were arrested, the ‘weapons’ were confiscated and the artist was accused of illegally manufacturing and possessing weapons. Thanks to the cops’ behaviour - which one can only hope for and which was a true if unintentional contribution to the work – the question as to what is real and what is not emerges once more. What is real: the mimetic fake rifles or the paranoid fantasies of the police in a time of potential terrorism?
It seems a matter of interpretation: apparently under cetain conditions a fake rifle can be a real weapon even though it cannot be fired. Also interesting is the fact that the rifles were shown in a context which wasn’t clearly of an artistic nature: a space in which nothing else was shown and which the policemen apparently didn’t know to be an art gallery. I can imagine that they would not have confiscated the rifles if there would also have been paintings, drawings and the like in the gallery space; in other words, objects which people like the policemen who were not savvy about visual art would have been able to recognize as artworks while the guns alone were outside their frame of reference. So they could perceive the guns only as guns whether they were real or not.
This is about how one experiences the world, about the way one is conditioned, about the category in which one places an object. In this light it is not to be wondered at that a policeman as a matter of course thinks about a gun when he sees something gun-like and immediately acts accordingly. Art can only be recognized when it is shown as such and therefore remains in the domain of an elite. On the other hand the image is potentially dangerous to the powers that be and may be censored, even if they are the victims of good old mimesis.