The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, March 20, 2019


'A Tale of Hidden Histories' opens at Eye Filmuseum
Chia-Wei HSU, Huai Mo Village (2012).


AMSTERDAM.- Truth, facts, memories, reality: are they all constructions? Artists Broomberg & Chanarin, Omer Fast, Chia-Wei Hsu and Meiro Koizumi show how film, video, but also slide projection, photos and sound can be used to study and 'unmask' the past. Reportage, re-enactment, documentary and cinematic techniques are some of the strategies used by these artists to expose the subjectivity of historical sources and the limitations of memory. In tales set in different parts of the world they examine the construction of stories and how stories change when they are told and retold from different perspectives.

The works presented expose the history in conflict areas; those parts in the world where the focus on truth and fiction is sharpened. And where the small-scale histories of individuals are often exemplary of a larger socio-political reality. Broomberg & Chanarin, Omer Fast, Chia-Wei Hsu and Meiro Koizumi tackle the question of the representation of war. Can a war be retold? Is it possible to depict a war? And which is the artist's role in this? These questions are the catalyst of the different, often unknown or forgotten stories of events from the Second World War, the Cold War, and more recently from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The artists share an inquisitive and reflective attitude towards history. They expose historical stories, not necessarily to reveal the truth. The procedure they follow is essentially different from, for instance, a journalistic, judicial or scholarly approach. They demonstrate that perspectives can be different and that imagination plays a major part in constructing a common and collective cultural memory. Their works raise questions about pressing issues from history rather than provide answers.

Broomberg & Chanarin
The artists Adam Broomberg (1970) and Oliver Chanarin (1971), born and bred in South Africa and England respectively, were trained as photographers but nowadays use various media. In their work they provocatively raise matters from history, politics and religion, always pointing out the power and the many possible interpretations of images, and struggling with the role of representation. The work Dodo (2014) was based on the representation of a war. The combination of record research, archaeological excavations and unused film fragments from the movie Catch 22 resulted in a striking work about the representation of war and the impact of the American Hollywood industry on the Mexican landscape. The work The Day Nobody Died (2008) originated from the time both artists were embedded with the British army in Afghanistan.

Omer Fast
Present-day trauma and war are major ingredients of Omer Fast's politically charged films. Fast (Israel, 1972) is interested in the tension between reality and fiction and explores the construction of stories, in particular how stories change when told from different perspectives. In Continuity (2012) a married couple is reunited with their son after his military mission in Afghanistan. The uncomfortable story rapidly gets more and more complicated. Her Face Was Covered (2011) was prompted by a drone pilot's statement describing the bombing of a truck convoy at an unspecified location.

Meiro Koizumi
With his confronting videos and performances Meiro Koizumi (Japan, 1976) unearths numerous deep-rooted taboos and sensitive issues of Japanese society. He is building a consistent oeuvre based on recurring subjects, such as the individual and collective memory, Japan's attitude towards the past, the Japanese media culture and the image of ultimate Japanese heroes such as the samurai and the kamikazes. Defect in Vision (2011) and Portrait of a Young Samurai (2009) give a disturbing picture of these warriors. The traumas and memories of American veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the subject of Koizumi’s recent work Battlelands (2018).

Chia-Wei Hsu
The Taiwanese artist Chia-Wei Hsu (1983) immerses himself in the cultural history and geopolitics of Asia. By telling forgotten stories he explores Asian history, giving a prominent part to myths and legends from these areas. In Huai Mo Village (2012) a priest tells about the time he worked for the CIA as a spy and resisted the Chinese communists. In Drones, Frosted Bats and the Testimony of the Deceased (2017) former factory workers reminisce about the Second World War in shots of a deserted fuel factory in Taiwan, filmed from a drone.





Today's News

March 16, 2019

How Neolithic stews, yogurt helped lead to 'F' and 'V' sounds

One of the finest examples of Claude Monet's Haystacks series estimated to sell for in excess of $55 Million

Curator and former director of the Haus der Kunst Okwui Enwezor dies in Munich

TEFAF Art Market Report: The Chinese Art Market released

V&A acquires pair of Champagne Standard Lamps designed by Salvador Dalí and Edward James

Sam Gilliam, Barkley L. Hendricks and Charles White included in gift of 78 works to PAFA

Major museum designed by V&A Dundee's architects to open in Turkey

Van Gogh & Japan: New film explores the career-defining impact Japan had on Van Gogh

Mexican Folk paintings explore migration, faith and human vulnerability in the 20th century

Exhibition at Kasmin presents three bodies of work by Naama Tsabar

Julien's Auctions announces highlights included in its Street and Contemporary Art Auction

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag shows installations by seven Dutch artists

Lebanese artist turns shrapnel into sculptures

NHM publishes 'Wild L.A.: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles'

The Royal Air Force Museum launches new Dambusters Virtual Reality Experience

Crescent City Auction Gallery announces Important Spring Estates Auction

Exhibition draws attention to forgotten aspects of Jewish history in Austria

Anna Bülow leaves the British Museum to join the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Museum of Russian Icons announces partnership with The British Museum

'A Tale of Two Collections' exhibition opens at the Mississippi Museum of Art

Exhibition at S.M.A.K. includes about 200 works from the collection

'A Tale of Hidden Histories' opens at Eye Filmuseum

Winterthur acquires rare 1927 Rolls-Royce

Exhibition revisits the creative and civic-minded projects conceived by artist Elvira Leite in Porto

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