Chris Coombes
Born in Germany in 1974, lives and works in London

Law-Enforcement Slogans, 2011, digital print


This work by Chris Coombes lists the slogans of various international law-enforcement agencies, ranging from the poetic ("Truth Alone Triumphs" - Tamil Nadu Police, India) to the confusing ("Ahead, Always Ahead" - Maldives National Defense Force). Coombes comically highlights the varying degrees of stupidity characteristic of political semantics, as the slogans of law-enforcement agencies worldwide are reduced to one long, meaningless catchphrase in which incongruity and irony are pitted against earnest credulity.

The gap between the stated content of these slogans and reality provokes a cynical reaction reminiscent of that triggered by empty corporate slogans, whose impact is directly related to their degree of detachment from reality - as is the case, for instance, with the MGM slogan "Art for Art's Sake," the L'Oreal slogan "Because I'm worth it," or the Adidas slogan "Impossible is Nothing."

Coombes' repositioning of information conveyed by postcards, road signs, and police mottos examines one way in which art may become engaged in a critique of the state. The subversive questioning of systems of power and authority is a consistent feature of his work.


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