Art Warning the World is a collaborative online manifesto of sorts created by New York-based French artist Klaus Guingand and 201 collaborators, each in a different country. The work centers around Guingand’s prophetic warning:
Quand le mot liberte disparaitra des dictionnaires il sera trop tard pour regir. (Which he translates as: When the word freedom ceases to appear from dictionaries, it will be too late to react.)
Each artist wrote this sentence on their home country’s flag, translated if necessary into their national language(s). (135 languages are thus represented.) Guingand asserts:
Each of these artists viscerally loves his country, its history, its people and its cultures. This artwork embodies the true humanism and proves that a global fraternity is possible.
For some reason, it appears that almost all of the participating artists are male. Some, understandably, do not show their faces, as the act of defacing a national flag could be expected in many cases to cause official and/or popular offense. Nevertheless, Guigand’s project is impressive in breadth while remaining very focused on the expression of freedom, and has created hundreds of intriguing and sometimes intimate portraits of artists with their flags.
Here is four-minute overview video and ten examples of the flag-based artworks produced. The artists, and artworks, each have their own page, including their own video – click on the headings to see them. Visit the project website art-warning-the-world.net to explore the complete set.