“I believe that the main task of the artist is to create spaces of resistance” – this is how Alfredo Jaar comments on the meaning of his practice. His video works, photos and installations are gestures of cultural resistance, testimonies to historical moments and the dark sides of our age, such as when he documented the conditions of Brazilian gold miners in 1985, or the genocide in Rwanda in 1990. Jaar often draws on the thinking of great intellectuals such as Gramsci and Pasolini to create conceptual works and public interventions that stir individual consciences. Indeed, in the work in this exhibition, Jaar reworks the phrase from Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, 1930: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old dies and the new cannot be born: in this interregnum the most varied morbid phenomena occur,” and transposes it into neon and poster. The phrase reflects on the necessity and urgency of the transition to the new, in a moment suspended between the “no longer” and the “not yet.”For Jaar, this is an invitation to illuminate with culture the darkness of the horrors of history so as not to forget them and especially not to repeat them. The phrase, part of Gramsci’s reflections on the advent of fascism, makes us question the ethical relationship we have with our time.
Alfredo Jaar (1956, Santiago, Chile) lives and works in New York. He studied architecture during the dictatorial regime in Chile and moved to New York in 1982. As an artist, architect, and filmmaker, his work focuses on socio-political issues, the semiotics of images, utopia, and failure. Important individual exhibitions include The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, USA (1992); Whitechapel, London, UK (1992); Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (1994); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA (1995) and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome ,Italy (2005). Major recent surveys of his work have taken place at SESC Pompeia, São Paulo, Brazil(2021); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2017); KIASMA, Helsinki, Finland (2014); Rencontres d’Arles, France (2013); Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin, Germany (2012); Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2008) and Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland (2007). He has participated in the Venice Art Biennale(1986, 2007, 2009, 2013) and the São Paulo Biennale (1987, 1989, 2010, 2021) as well as Documenta (1987, 2002). He received the Hiroshima Art Prize in 2018 and the Hasselblad Award in 2020.