The Stop by Chinese artist Michael Zheng was installed in a local park (just realized the visual pun inherent in its setting) as part of Vancouver’s 2009-2011 Art Biennale. It was removed last year but I have just found the photographs. Delighted to find, I was, that it fit nicely into my Text in Art, ‘The 100’ series.
I passed this piece often because it was on my cycle route to art school. It became a familiar landmark for me and I always enjoyed its surreal and brightly incongruous location. I imagined children playing in the park on bicycles and tricycles using these signs in their games. I also loved watching people’s double takes as they passed by this installation. I liked that people who hadn’t seen this before did Stop to look.
We take such signs for granted but in many places in the world such signs don’t exist. In San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, where I go annually to paint, there are no Stop signs or traffic lights. Instead there are Tropes, giant speed bumps, or as we used to call them in England, ‘Sleeping Policemen.’ In the town they are known to be the place you cross the street, because the traffic has to slow down there. On the highways they act as speed regulators.
I don’t know about your city but here the everyday Stop sign on the street has become a ground for making political statements. Stickers or stencils are applied under the word ‘Stop’ to make a point. For instance: “Killing Whales” / “War” / “Homelessness” / “The 99%” etc, etc.
You can Stop reading now…
‘The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu