Meme (Michelangelo-Rodin-Onslow Ford-Jeans)

2/3 life size
Painted plaster

Meme (Michelangelo-Rodin-Onslow Ford-Jeans) was triggered by Adrian Jeans’ first confrontation with Edward Onslow Ford’s Linus, a sculpture that immediately reminded him of Auguste Rodin’s The Age of Bronze. Linus is an athletic male figure holding a down-turned torch, a symbol of death. Onslow Ford said that Linus was, indeed, based on The Age of Bronze (also referred to as Vanquished Soldier and Man Awakening to Nature). The Age of Bronze was inspired by Michelangelo’s Dying Slave.

Meme is a product not only of art history but also of Liverpool, where Jeans lives and works. The wings were modelled on a road-kill seagull, and are emblematic of the port city’s role as a transit point, both currently (cruise ships) and historically (economic migrants and exiled convicts). The ankle shackles refer to Liverpool’s prominent role in the historic transatlantic trade, which depended on the slave labour of millions of people. The city’s International Slavery Museum has slave shackles in its collection.