ABM Referendum Polling Station at Royal Academy of Arts


Royal Academy of Arts / Weston Studio / Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD
16 June 2021 – 4 July 2021


After more than two years of researching, drawing, planning and making,  and as we shift into post pandemic times, the ABMReferendum Polling Station has been finally opened to the public from Wednesday 16th June 2021 until 4th July at Royal Academy of Arts, London.

The ABM Referendum project consists of the recreation of a fictional polling station.  For this purpose all the elements that compose it have been designed and built on purpose (polling booth, polling table, seats, bench, ballot box, ballot papers, propaganda material, abmwebsite, banners, signs, etc).   This referendum materializes the vindication of the right to vote the end, or not, of the British Monarchy and hereditary power.  The Suffragettes movement and their attacks in 1914 of 3 paintings at the Royal Academy of Arts for the vindication of women's votes are here used as a departure point for vindicating an apparently lost cause nowadays.  The aesthetics of the ABM propaganda is inspired in leaflets and posters of the 1975 Common Market referendum, which was the first national Referendum in the UK and where propaganda had a notorious influence in the result of the polls. Persuasive and biased messages as well as psychological strategies have been designed here to convince the public about the convenience of ending a system that is incompatible with democracy. Following the game of generating historical confusion, the furniture in display has been inspired in soviet bus stops and monuments, with the intention to generate a pseudo futuristic aura as a sort of premonition or annunciation of future events.


Photos by Andy Keate 

















The Suffragettes movement and their attacks in 1914 of 3 paintings at the Royal Academy of Arts for the vindication of women's votes are here used as a departure point for vindicating an apparently lost cause nowadays. One of the paintings (Primavera) was painted as a true copy, respecting and reproducing with extreme detail the original work.  Nevertheless, the two original slashed portraits have been apropiated and reinterpreted, delivering a drastically different meaning to these. 

These three works are meant to provoke different emotional reactions on the public depending on their political inclinations.  The desire to attack the works, placed at an unusual dangerous hight, would not be a surprise.  The purpose of the unusual positioning of the labels of the works, on top of the paintings and at the average height of sight, is that of highlighing the importance of the origin and history of the works, rather than of the formal and aesthetic characteristics of the works, which in this case are irrelevant.









The Polling table serves also as a display table for photographic documents on antimonarchy protests and different objects related to the fight for the right to vote

180 Ceramic Crownless One Pound Coins
 



Printed ABM ballot papers



 ABMreferendum copyright


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