Shadows by Alfredo Jaar


CIAC – Capital Ibero-Americana de Cultura Lisboa 2017

On May 24 to September 3, 2017,  Carpintarias de São Lázaro presents Shadows,
the solo exhibition of Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar.

The second piece of this triology is Shadows, based on the extraordinary image of dutch photographer Koen Wessing (1942-2011). Taken in Estelí, Nicaragua, during the last days of Somoza’s regime in 1978, this photograph captures the deep pain of two young women who just heard, at the moment, of their father’s death.

Alfredo Jaar takes inspiration from a previous work of Wessing’s, where the photographer witnesses Santiago do Chile’s military coup and documents its consequences on a book composed only of images entitled “CHILE SEPTEMBER 1973”. This work presents the horror of that day September 11 of 1973 without using a single word.

In Shadows, Jaar employs a similar structure. With an extreme economy of sources, Jaar creates a mise-en-scène where he use seven of Wessing’s photographs: three images that precede the main image and another three that reveal what followed that tragic moment.

Architect and filmmaker, Alfredo Jaar was born in 1956 and was raised in Santiago, Chile. He now lives and works in New York, USA.

Jaar defies general conventions in art and politics. The artist joins aethetics and ethic to focus on injustice all around the world - poverty, exploitation, genocide. Most of Jaar’s images are presented in complex installations and assembling found objects: posters, signs, billboards; envolving projection, glass surfaces and photo-text images. His work show the tangibility and its effects of economical and political realities with individual’s lives, globally. 

His work has been exhibited extensively all around the world. He participated in Venice Biennals (1986; 2007; 2009; 2013), São Paulo (1985; 1987; 2010), Sydney (1990), Istambul (1995) and Johannesburgo (1997) as well as Kassel’s documenta (1987, 2002).

He exhibited in Contemporary Art Museum of New York (1992), Contemporary Art Museum Chicago (1992), Modern Museet in Stockholm (1997),  Contemporary Art Museum of Rome (2005) and Beaux Arts Museum in Lausanne (2007).

Most recent retrospectives were organized in 2012 by Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst in Berlin; in 2014 by Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma in Helsínquia; and in 2015 by Contemporary Art Museum of Marseille.

Shadows is the second part of a triology dedicated to a single image. The first piece of this triology,  The Sound of Silence, was, according to french philosopher Jacques Rancière,
a “theater play built for a single image”. The image in case is a photograph taken by south-african photographer Kevin Carter in South Sudan, and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
The Sound of Silence was exhibited 27 times in the last 15 year, in 18 different countrys and eight languages.

Carpintarias de São Lázaro
Rua de São Lázaro, 72
1150-199 Lisbon, Portugal

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