Art and the Iraq war
Alan Ingram’s essay for London exhibition
Dr Alan Ingram has contributed the catalogue essay for the exhibition Iraq: How, Where, for Whom? currently running at The Mosaic Rooms in west London.
The show is a collaborative exhibition between the Iraqi artist Hanaa' Malallah and UK duo kennardphillipps, who share a critical and reflective view of the occupation/invasion of Iraq. The exhibition features large-scale collages, installations, photomontage pieces and sculptures.
Malallah’s work uses burnt canvas, cloths, wire, found objects and paint to create violently abstract yet sensuous pieces. Using what the artist refers to as her ‘ruins technique’, her work not only testifies to the destruction of Iraq, but also to the transformative potential of destruction. The exhibition features many new works by the artist, exhibited here for the first time.
kennardphillipps’ work manipulates and subverts press material on the Iraq War and subsequent occupation to create opposing images and narratives. The works featured range from those that directly adapt media imagery for immediate impact, to those that require the viewer to make a closer, more critical inspection.
In both artistic approaches, questions are raised over the claims that the invasion of Iraq brought freedom and a better future to its people. But the artists also interrogate and subvert the powerful tools of modern mass media, posing questions about democracy and the representation of conflict, inviting us to become more rigorous and engaged spectators.
Dr Ingram's essay explores these themes, drawing on his previous research on art and geopolitics and current work on art and the Iraq war as a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow.
The exhibition is open until 8th June 2012.
Alan Ingram's project blog: