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Press Releases

Alfredo Jaar: The Garden of Good and Evil

17 May 2017

14 October 2017–8 April 2018
Underground Gallery and open air

 
Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents a major solo exhibition by pioneering Chilean artist, Alfredo Jaar. This important project is a key part of YSP’s 40th anniversary celebrations taking place throughout 2017. Widely regarded as one of the world’s most politically engaging yet poetic artists, Jaar addresses humanitarian trauma and the politics of image-making, creating visually and emotionally stunning works that have an exceptional aesthetic. Trained as a magician and subsequently as an architect, Jaar often uses constructed spaces and light to navigate what is seen and what is not. At YSP seminal installations will transform the Underground Gallery and its open-air concourse.
 
The exhibition includes a major new commission, The Garden of Good and Evil (2017), presented in the open air and visible through the glass façade of the gallery. On entering what appears to be a beautiful grove of trees, visitors experience elegantly fabricated steel cells, which reference ‘black sites’, the secret detention facilities operated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) around the world. A work that Jaar has wanted to realise for some years and that YSP is uniquely placed to create, The Garden of Good and Evil is a significant commission for YSP and for the UK. Thanks to a donation by the artist and a/political it will have a home in YSP’s permanent collection after the exhibition closes.
 
Powerful mixed media installations transform the award-winning Underground Gallery, taking visitors on a personal and sensory journey. The first space features The Sound of Silence (2005), a work that exposes the history of a devastating image of a young victim of the 1993 Sudanese famine, taken by photographer Kevin Carter. The image drew global attention and approbation, and led to aid being directed to the famine, but also to Carter’s suicide. With characteristic subtlety, Jaar frames both the images and stories with delicacy and empathy. At a time when we are swamped by news and pictures, Jaar’s work examines image fatigue, image ownership and copyright; he highlights the control of 100 million historic photographs by the largest photo agency of the world, and challenges the candour of information sources.
 
In the second space, contemplating the problem of compassion fatigue, A Hundred Times Nguyen (1994) comprises 100 images of a little girl the artist met while visiting ‘refugee detention centres’ in Hong Kong in 1991. One of the many forgotten Vietnamese boat people held in shocking conditions, Nguyen Thi Thuy grew attached to Jaar who photographed her five times at five-second intervals. Standing for so many similarly displaced migrants around the world, the child’s bright face demands that we remember her plight and draws our compassion, whilst offering hope.
 
Shadows (2014) presents six images taken by photographer Koen Wessing over a single day, early in the 1978 Nicaraguan Civil War, following a farmer’s murder. Presented in a journey across the gallery, images of a family’s trauma are interrupted by the projection of the seventh photograph – an image of two grieving daughters transforming into a white-hot silhouette. The work, etched into a visitor’s retina, follows them into the next room where the remainder of the images and the conclusion of the work, steeped in darkness, offer a reprieve from the blinding light.
 
Born in 1956 in Santiago, Chile, Jaar lived with his family in Martinique from the age of five to 15 and is now based in New York. Always thoughtfully researched and often with community cooperation, Jaar’s projects bear witness to inequalities and injustices around the world such as toxic pollution in Nigeria, gold mining in Brazil and genocide in Rwanda. For over 40 years Jaar’s work has received critical acclaim at prestigious museums worldwide and has been acquired by collections including Tate, M+ Hong Kong, Guggenheim, MoMA New York, LACMA Los Angeles, and the Pompidou, Paris. He was awarded a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2000.
 
As a platform for debate and the presentation of relevant current affairs, this project continues a highly popular strand of YSP’s programming that has included Shirin Neshat (Iran/US), Amar Kanwar (India) and Yinka Shonibare (Nigeria/UK). The associated public programme, including a talk by the artist, offers opportunities for all ages to delve into the themes and issues of Jaar’s work and their relevance within contemporary society.

Galerie Lelong & Co. and Goodman Gallery will present vintage works by Alfredo Jaar created in Chile in the 1970s and 1980s at this year’s Frieze Masters Spotlight — the first major overview of this body of work in the UK.
 
Notes to Editors
About Alfredo Jaar

Recent major exhibitions by Alfredo Jaar include the Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa (2016); Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille, France (2015); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland (2014); the Pavilion of Chile at the 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2013); and the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin, Germany (2012). Jaar emigrated from Chile in 1981, at the height of Pinochet’s military dictatorship. His exhibition at Fundación Telefonica in Santiago, Chile (2006) was his first in his native country in 25 years. In 2016 his iconic 1987 work A Logo for America was presented in the UK at London’s Piccadilly Circus.

Clare Lilley, Director of Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
The project is curated by Clare Lilley, whose recent curated and published work includes Fiona Banner, James Lee Byars, Amar Kanwar, Shirin Neshat, Yinka Shonibare OBE, Bill Viola and Ai Weiwei. She has curated Frieze Sculpture Park, London since 2012 and in 2015 curated Jaume Plensa at San Giorgio Maggiore for the Venice Biennale. Lilley sits on the Advisory Committee of the Government Art Collection, and is a Board member of Art UK and Site Gallery, Sheffield. She is a nominator for the Nasher Sculpture Prize 2015–17 and is a member of the Women Leaders in Museums Network. She has presented papers and been a panellist at organisations including The China Museum, Beijing; the Province of Limburg at Z33, Belgium; the Kyiv Sculpture Project, Ukraine; the ICA, London; the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; the Cape Town Art Fair, South Africa; the Sydney Opera House, Australia; and Frieze London.
 

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Alfredo Jaar Media Release

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Alfredo Jaar, The Garden of Good and Evil, 2017. Courtesy the artist, New York, a/political and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Alfredo Jaar, The Sound of Silence, 2006. Courtesy the artist, New York and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Alfredo Jaar, I Can't Go On. I'll Go On, 2016. Courtesy the artist, New York and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Alfredo Jaar, A Hundred Times Nguyen, 1994. Courtesy the artist, New York and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Alfredo Jaar, Shadows, 2014. Courtesy the artist, New York and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Alfredo Jaar, The Garden of Good and Evil, 2017. Courtesy the artist, New York, a/political and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Alfredo Jaar, You Do Not Take a Photograph. You Make It, 2013. Courtesy the artist, New York and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Alfredo Jaar, Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible, 2015. Courtesy the artist, New York and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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Alfredo Jaar at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Courtesy the artist, New York and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

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