Chronicles of a Disappearance

Gabrielle Moser
DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montréal,
January 19 – May 13, 2012
DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montréal,
January 19 – May 13, 2012
[En anglais]

For this group exhibition, curator John Zeppetelli seems to have posed himself an impossible challenge: to bring together artworks that make disappearance visually representable and absence physically palpable. Chronicles of a Disappearance is a quiet but unnerving overview of five artists’ strategies for depicting the distant and invisible nature of violence in contemporary politics.

Texts, and their translations, serve to explicate the social context of many of the projects, but also underscore the incommensurable distance (physical, historical, and cultural) between the artworks’ absented subjects and their present viewers. In Taryn Simon’s 2007 series, An American Index of the Hidden and the Unfamiliar, large-scale colour photographs offer glimpses of concealed locations in the American landscape, from the banal (such as the abstract art collection that hangs in the lobby of the CIA’s headquarters) to the shocking (like the ungainly pile of all the items confiscated from passengers over a 24-hour period at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport). Though the photographs are surreal records of places viewers could not otherwise imagine, it is Simon’s dry descriptions of what takes place in these scenes — printed in tiny type on the wall next to each image — that give the work its political force, raising questions about why these activities remain unseen in an age of ubiquitous photo documentation.

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Cet article parait également dans le numéro 75 - Objets animés

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