Towards a hypericonisation of our societies?
By Cristina D’Agostino11 mai 2022
Shot Sage Blue Marilyn was sold at auction for $195 million at Christie's. A record for a 20th century work. Andy Warhol's portrait of Marilyn Monroe is the meeting of two myths, two pop culture icons. And this double symbolism, which has become an object of absolute covetousness, is no stranger to the growing need of our societies to develop referents, immediately understandable languages, strong, stable, reassuring images.
Marilyn is the icon of the total woman, powerful and fragile, luminous and dark, feminist and sexy. Andy Warhol, on the other hand, embodies the traits of an absolute artist, both mortal and immortal, fascinated by the idols he transforms into eternal icons. The recent record sales at auction are a series of highly symbolic sales. On the 4th of May this year, on a digital platform, the vintage Cartier Crash watch from 1967 broke a record at more than 1.5 million euros, doubling its previous sale price for a similar piece from 1970 sold by Sotheby's for more than 800,000 dollars. The watch, which some people link to Salvador Dali's famous 1931 painting The Persistence of Memory - a depiction of the universal ideas of time and death - is also an object with strong symbolism. For others, the timepiece created by Jean-Jacques Cartier at the end of the 1960s was born of two other hypothetical inspirations, one of which was to be the emblematic watch of the swinging 60s in London, an era of unprecedented social change.
A watch that symbolises rebellion? Does its appeal echo that of our post-modern societies? References to the past are numerous in today's rhetoric. Images, postures, everything is good to iconise history in progress. But make no mistake: where caricatures disturb, icons reassure. Hypericonisation is here to stay.
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