Civilizing Force by Bran Symondson


Bran Symondson

Civilizing Force, 2021

2x AK47, Real Butterflies, Origami Butterflies made from Playboy Centerfolds

100 x 85 x 8 cm

Edition of 1

Playboy Mexico Art Book Collection

London, England

$55,000 USD Original + Shipping

Exclusively at Reine Gallery.


Reine Text: 

Bran Symondson’s Civilizing Force pays homage to both change and revolution. In this work, social and sexual issues are represented through the use of specific materials such as the AK-47s and a mixture of real and origami butterflies. The harshness of the man made weapons is softened by the juxtapositioning of organic matter. 

Sway Gaytan (curator)


Artist Text: 

The Playboy logo and the AK47 are both instantly recognisable, these iconic emblems conjure emotions of change and revolution worldwide, so as an artist working with AK47s to be invited onto this project was an exciting proposal. I wanted to combine these two elements with what I would regard as one of the most iconic playboy covers ever printed, the 1971 cover with Darien Stern who was also the first ever black women to appear on the cover of playboy , this was during a period of history of revolution throughout the world, both social and sexual fighting for equality and peace , and throughout this the Vietnam war was raging, in which the AK47 first became notorious and soon to be regarded as an emblem of revolution and the most lethal weapon ever invented.\nFor this reason the narrative of my photo shoot was to merge these  elements inspired by Francis Ford Coppola film ‘Apocalypse Now’ , set in the Vietnam War in which there’s a famous scene where playboy girls are brought in by a Huey helicopter scene with the playboy logo , to entertain the troops, so we styled the model in this manner wearing fatigues .\nFor my recreation of the famous playboy chair image it was important for me to totally recreate this without cheating with retouching , so we had the playboy chair hand made in London to the same scale to match the model Betty , we then embellished it with real butterflies as I wanted to add a subtle hint of the materials I normally work with, some of my works can be seen in the images with the AK47 ‘Spoils of War’ and my dollar bill grenades to the bullet necklace.\nrather than her holding one of my actual AK47 artworks I felt the real gold AK47 which I own, captured from Iraq, would suit the vibe of the shot more, it was important for me to make the model look empowered to symbolise how far the sexual revolution has come and also not to glorify the AK47, so much as to acknowledge its iconic shape and its place in history.


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