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Traces of War

Culture + Conflict

9 November 2016

Exhibition at King’s College London

26 October- 18 December 2016

Professor Vivienne Jabri and Curator Cécile Bourne-Farrell

Traces of War, reimagines war beyond its exceptionality, locating it in spaces where it would be least expected. At the same time, the art works reveal the sheer power of the everyday, as life itself and in its most ordinary makes its presence felt in the most dangerous locations of war. Artists from Goya to Dix variously and differently reveal the horrors of war and its imprint upon the body and the body politic, as if we might easily contrast the peace of the everyday with the destructive exceptionalism of war.  However, the everyday also has a capacity to make its imprint on war, and this is shown most strongly in, for example, Mona Hatoum’s steel installation, Grater Divide (2002), where an everyday object, such as a kitchen utensil, acquires a menacing, frightening presence.

Working with three outstanding and internationally renowned artists, Jananne Al-Ani, Baptist Coelho, and Shaun Gladwell, our aim is to explore this most enduring and, some would argue, most dangerous aspect of war, namely its presence and intersection with the everyday. We wish to bring the paradoxical silent roar of battle to the gallery space so that we might understand its dynamic and its imprint upon the body politic and upon the subject of (international) politics. Working primarily with photography, film and multi-media installations, all three artists have direct experience of the zones of conflict and war, from Iraq, to India, to Bangladesh, to Afghanistan, and then ‘back home’ where the traces of war are revealed again, as if there is no such thing as leaving war behind. The intention of all three artists is to present works responding to our theme.

Our aim is to create a space for an exploratory dialogue between academic research into the subject of war and its intersection with the everyday, as well as artists’ encounters with war and the conceptual schema that render it both comprehensible and strange. We hope this collaboration can enable such a dialogue with students and researchers, as well as members of the general public, who will be able to experience the exhibition in the Inigo Rooms and other spaces at King’s College London. Public events and colloquia will take place during the course of the exhibition. There will, in addition, be an exhibition catalogue, to incorporate selected essays and commentary.

For additional information please read the Traces of War Press Release

The Exhibition will run from 26th October – 18 December 2016 in the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing.

The project is supported by:

  • Cultural Programming at King’s
  • Leverhulme Trust
  • The Delfina Foundation, London
  • Australia Council for the Arts,  the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body
  • The Department of War Studies (Arts & Conflict Hub), King’s College London

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