In his latest exhibition, a series of installations, Alfredo Jaar, the global giant of social justice and conceptual art, meditates on the binary positions of spectatorship to war, and the role of the media. It’s a must-see, says Kathy Berman.
‘Genocide’ — the word is inextricably linked with Rwanda, an association imprinted on the consciousness and consciences of millions across the globe. No matter how many years pass, and how much the current political leadership works on erasing the horror of the past, those 100 days in 1994 remain a stain on contemporary global history. As do Bosnia Herzegovina, Syria, Yemen, the plight of the Uyghurs, the Rohingyas and other short-hand proper nouns for what is politely termed “Human Rights Violations”.
How does an artist approach the atrocities of a contemporary genocide? How does the artist convey the emotion, the visceral brutality, in a digital age of infinite instant images? How does the artist steer clear of either obscene voyeurism or indifference and compassion fatigue?
These are the complexities that the Chilean-born, New York-based, globally-lauded conceptual artist, Alfredo Jaar, tackles in The Rwanda Project, which has been installed at the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town from November 2020 until 23…