A Child’s Machiavelli: Works from the Nineties
Solo Exhibition curated by Anika Meier
30 June – 20 July, 2023
I initially wrote and illustrated A Child’s Machiavelli in 1994. It was inspired by The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, a treatise from the Italian Renaissance and long considered the first book of political philosophy. My own version started as a series of paintings and drawings resulting in a small catalog that I called A Child's Machiavelli. It was exhibited at the Künstlerhaus Am Acker, and produced by the Realismus Studio, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin, in 1995. The catalog was eventually released as an expanded hardcover by Penguin USA in 1998, along with German and French editions. At that time, drawings were also collected by the Albertina Museum in Vienna
My intention with my Child’s interpretation of the 1532 Machiavelli was to keep to the meaning of the original, but to reflect the values and voice of the youth culture of my own time. I imagined The Prince – intended to advise a young king on the ways of power – as a primer teaching bad manners and street smarts to small children. My version has proven prescient, prefiguring the infantile brutality of current US politics. I was therefore thrilled when Beatrice Books, a small experimental publisher, reissued the book in a more contemporary edition in 2019. At that time, I discovered among my files a series of Flash animations created for an e-book, an early 21st-century digital format that has long since disappeared along with Flicker Labs, the visionary company that half-produced them from my original gouache paintings in 2010. Then again, in a third re-conception of A Child’s Machiavelli, but this time at the height of the crypto bubble, it finally struck me that these technological castaways would make perfect NFT. So, I finished them last year, using a new Adobe product called Animate, one that allowed me to reopen old Flash files. With that final transformation, what has ultimately emerged are cruel but true insights, standing as reminders that while technologies may come and go, human frailties still manage to remain always the same.
Claudia Hart, 3D visualizations of the exhibit A Child’s Machiavelli: Works from the Nineties, Expanded.art, Berlin, Germany, including A Child’s Machiavelli NFT animations,1995/2022; augmented-reality A Child’s Machiavelli wallpaper, 2023; A Child’s Machiavelli augmented reality rug (appropriated tufted wool rug, 8 x 10 feet) 2023; signed first-edition A Childs Machiavelli books, 1998 (in a custom hand-made linen folio); Thirty-one A Childs Machiavelli 16 inch x 12 inch gouache drawings on rag paper,1995; Sixteen 30 inch x 21.5 inch acrylic + chalk drawings on rag paper, 1998.