Smart operators in the commercial world have checked on art to get heads-up on the way things are moving for some time now. They've figured fairly early on that some artists are more tuned into the zeitgeist than a hundred copywriters, half a hundred art directors or 25 planners.
This mega work by Turner Prize winning Mark Wallinger in Gateshead will certainly ring a bell with New Zealanders. Colin McCahon got to ‘I' early in his career and worried through I AM Thou, I AM Scared, I AM. His 'I' stretched for the all-encompassing spiritual other. Decades later Wallinger reaches for the same letter only this time it’s a self-portrait. 'I' as in ME.
There's quite some distance between an artist posing a question of faith and one who asserts himself as the answer. From collective doubt to the power of the individual. You can already feel an ad campaign coming on.
Image: Mark Wallinger's Self-Portrait Times New Roman at the Baltic in Gateshead