Alfredo Jaar: Shadows
Carpintarias de São Lázaro, Lisbon, Portugal20 May 2017 - 03 Sep 2017
Lisboa Capital Ibero-Americana da Cultura is pleased to present Alfredo Jaar’s Shadows at Carpintarias de São Lázaro from May 20 to September 3, 2017.
Shadows is the second part of a trilogy of installations which focus on the power and politics of a single extraordinary image. The photograph at the center of Shadows was taken by Dutch photojournalist Koen Wessing in Estelí, Nicaragua, at the height of the Sandinista insurrection in 1978. “From this image I still get nightmares,” Wessing continued to recall years later.
As an homage to Koen Wessing, the installation is structured similarly to one of the photographer’s best known work, Chili September 1973, an entirely photo-based book created from photographs he shot during the 1973 military coup in Santiago de Chile. Shadows, similarly to the silent book about that historic event, delves into the story of the Nicaraguan image by weaving it into a narrative of other photographs, all carefully selected from Wessing’s original contact sheets. Viewers who go through the installation piecing the story together hence imitate the very process whereby Jaar created the work, trying to understand the story of this historic image by researching Wessing’s archives at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam.
The work examines the power and responsibility of photographs as well as that of their authors and viewers. The installation considers the difficulty of documenting violence without perpetuating violence and point out the necessity of considering everything in context. In so doing it probes into photography’s ever-challenging but crucial role of raising compassion and dissect the process through which images reach what Roland Barthes called “punctum.”
Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker known as of one of the most uncompromising, compelling, and innovative artists working today. The artist’s installations and public interventions have earned him international acclaim. His work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Venice Biennale (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013), Sao Paulo (1987, 1989, 2010) as well as Documenta in Kassel (1987, 2002). Important individual exhibitions include The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Whitechapel, London; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Major recent surveys of his work have taken place at Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne; Hangar Bicocca, Milan; Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur Bildende Kunst, Berlin; Rencontres d’Arles, Arles and Kiasma, Helsinki.
Carpintarias de São Lázaro
Rua de S. Lázaro, 72