Few modern-day figures inspire art like Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. His face has been painted on canvas, tattooed on forearms, vilified on the silver screen and deified in sculpture.
Now, Jobs is the first figure in an exhibit in New York next month featuring busts and full-body statues of Silicon Valley titans by Chilean artist Sebastian Errazuriz.
Aptly named The Prophet, the sculpture depicts Jobs’ lithe frame sitting on a cube in familiar jeans, mock-neck sweater and New Balance running shoes scrolling through an iPhone.
The statues have a very classical, Roman feel. When you consider Rome fell, it becomes clear that Errazuriz wants the viewers to understand that the devices of our digital civilization could lead to our undoing.
The Beginning of the End
The show, featuring other technology visionaries like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Sergey Brin, is called The Beginning of the End, and it runs May 1-24 at The Elizabeth Collective in New York City.
Errazuriz’s decision to make the figures look Roman and heroic purposely exaggerates the mythology of each person represented. Much of his work as an artist is social commentary. It is clear Errazuriz has lost sleep over technology’s hold on us.
He is naming names.
Bezos is carrying a spear as he rides a horse rearing up on its back legs. Musk is depicted as a wounded angel. Brin is wearing Google Glass and the robes of an emperor.
Zuckerberg appears as a bust, his stiff face seemingly detached from his subjects.
While looking like white marble, the pieces were done with a 3D printer.
Steve Jobs as a kind of ‘Thinker’
Errazuriz purposely posed Jobs in such a way as to remind the viewer of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. (That iconic statue initially served as a centerpiece for a bigger work by Rodin called The Gates of Hell.)
“The first sculpture of the series is Steve Jobs,” Errazuriz explains in a video about the work. “Historically, in different religions, there’s a prophet that brings forward a message, a gospel that rests with the audience and becomes part of their lives.
“If you think about it, his tablets, which he distributes to all of us, change our lives entirely and the moment we all start carrying a device that captures information, it starts to change the way we think and interact with other people. It’s almost like the start of a new religion.”
You can follow Errazuriz’s work on Instagram.