Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Alfredo Jaar

Alfredo Jaar is an architect, artist, filmmaker and designer. He was born in Chile but is currently working in New York. In installations, photographs, films, and community-based projects, Jaar explores the public’s desensitization to images and the limitations of art to represent events such as genocides, epidemics, and famines. Jaar’s work bears witness to military conflicts, political corruption, and imbalances of power between industrialized and developing nations. The combination of architecture and fine art that Jaar uses creates a visually stunning body of work. His installation pieces excel in gaining the attention of viewers. I admire his humanitarian themed pieces, especially The Eyes of Gutete Emerita 1996. One of his many works about the tragedy and lives of Rwanda, Jaar makes it so that the viewer is not directly confronted with the atrocities of the genocide that took place, but rather the eyes of Gutete Emerita, the gaze of a survivor whose narrative has been mentioned earlier and who has been a direct ‘witness to something it is impossible to bear witness to.’ This subtle show of eyes, staring straight back at the viewer is haunting, effective, and memorable. The massive stack of slides, depicting the same image, creates the illusion of different images which the viewer would look at and try to pick out differences—tricking the mind. It shows that Rwanda had thousands of victims, but Jaar makes it personal by showing the eyes of one.
I really like that he uses public spaces to display his installations.

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