“Conflicted Memory” at the Alan Cristea Gallery brings together an international group of eight female artists whose experiences of living within conflict zones, or places of political unrest, address the issues that surround the concept of recollection.” (from exhibition guide)
Reflections on difficult personal and collective history
The exhibition, “Conflicted Memory” at Alan Cristea gallery, London, from 29 April – 1 June 2013, shows the work of eight international artists, all women looking at memories, personal narrative, and history of conflict. Each artist has personal experience of conflict and socio-political change, and the work they make attempts to engage with that past while encouraging debate about effects of such a history.
Donagh lives and works in Oxfordshire, England. Her collages fuse maps, newspaper images and architectural drawings to map key events during The Troubles in the 1970s, which she experienced first hand. (image above)
de Burca uses detailed drawings and a short film to consider the “legacy of conflict tied to particular places”. In the work for “Conflicted Memory” she refers directly to Crom Estate which separates the two sides of Belfast, where she lived for a time.
Using precise drawings of textbook pages that are then erased away, Goddard reflects on memories from teenage years at a time when apartheid was coming to an end in South Africa. A particularly sharp moment was when all the school textbooks were replaced and she discovered what’s written is not necessarily the “real” history of a place and time.
Jusic recalls the Bosnian-Serbian conflict, a memory which is extremely personal and intimate. In her short film, “The Sniper” (2007), we hear Jusic’s voice recounting the record of kills by her sniper father, as her hand scratches out a deep red circle in a piece of paper, gradually revealing the only photo of her father that remains after the conflict.
Baumgartner’s “Klassnkameraden” (1999) is a photographic work of three prints that in each one layers images of four children, in fact the artist herself, and refers to Bamgartner’s ambivalent memories of childhood in a historical time and place where individuality was eschewed.
Esber’s work builds on references to painters such as Jasper Johns, while she refers to flags as deconstructed symbols of national identity. In ‘Conflicted Memory’ the Lebanese artist offers cans of paint containing a colour from some nation’s flag. The wall drawing then is a combination of two colours from the flags of the UK and Mali, chosen by the gallery, and demonstrating her indifference to the importance of flags to represent a country.
Yoland’s installation of prints and a short video “X-Steps Removed” (2009), refers to the conflict in Gaza 2008-9. Together the images and video keep the viewer at a distance while at the same time, they become a countdown to an impending disaster at the edge of the viewer’s vision.
Kaabi-Linke’s wall installation, “Stigmata of the Medina of Tunis” (2008) creates a collage of transfer prints taken from writings on the old city wall of Medina, Tunis. The prints are an archive of memories, that may be altered or erased at a moment’s notice.
“Although exhibiting in various media- including print, drawing, painting and video- the artists share a contemplative approach to the emotionally-charged themes with which they deal. “ from Visual Artists Ireland online magazine
- Related post: LSE hosts panel discussion ‘Art in Conflict’ as part of Literary Festival 2013
- Culture + Conflict website – supporting arts and culture in international and post-conflict situations
- Read more about the exhibition Conflicted Memory at Alan Cristea Gallery, New Bond Street
- Art in Conflict, hosted by London School of Economics; includes podcasts, slides and info about related events
- Download Press Release for Conflicted Memory
- Conflicted Memory on ArtLyst
- Listing of Conflicted Memory on Yareah Magazine
- Podcast of panel discussion: “Art and Conflict”. Monday 29 April 2013, 6-8pm, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, London School of Economics.
Links to more info about the artists
- Rita Donagh at Tate
- Miriam de Burca at Catalyst Arts
- Ruth Goddard
- Adela Jusic
- Christiane Baumgartner
- Ninar Esber
- K. Yoland
- Nadia Kaabi-Linke
Exhibition details: “Conflicted Memory” at Alan Cristea gallery, 31 Cork St, London W1S 3NU runs from 29 April through 1st June 2013. Free entrance.