Apollo Magazine

A simple lesson for any artist: do not chain yourself to a rock

Artist Mikes Poppe has been cut from a block of marble that he chained himself to 19 days ago

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

To Ostend, where self-professed ‘artist/terrorist’ Mikes Poppe has fallen foul of some particularly heavy symbolism. As part of a performance entitled De Profundis, Poppe had himself chained to an enormous block of Carrara marble, with the aim of shrugging off ‘the burden of history’. In order to realise this not unambitious aim, he planned to chisel away at the block until he freed himself.

Alas, after 19 days – rather more than he was originally allotted – he has been cut loose and admitted defeat.

‘This block was symbolic of history, the history of art, which I am trying to free myself from’, he said upon release. ‘I discovered that this is not possible. It is burden which I must always carry.’

Quite so. Though if he’s minded to try again, a pneumatic drill might make all the difference…

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