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Press Releases

Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents a new permanent installation by pioneering Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar

08 Aug 2019

Alfredo Jaar: The Garden of Good and Evil
From 21 September 2019
Open Air

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) presents The Garden of Good and Evil, a new permanent installation by pioneering Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar, which will be unveiled in the open air on 21 September 2019 – United Nations International Day of Peace. The unveiling coincides with the launch of a publication of the same name, which features essays that explore Jaar’s artistic practice, positioning the work at YSP as a critical element of his ongoing investigation into the power of imagery.
 
The Garden, a work that Jaar wanted to realise for some years and that YSP is uniquely placed to house, is a significant permanent commission for the Park and for the UK. It features ten elegantly fabricated steel cells, which reference ‘black sites’, the secret detention facilities operated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) around the world. The cells, which have been sited within the woodland and partially submerged in the Lower Lake at the Park, have been transformed by the natural conditions and assimilated into the landscape. The once polished steel exteriors are being aged by the weather, becoming rusted and blending with the surrounding environment to create a new work.
 
The cells take a 1960s Minimalist aesthetic and form and each has a one-metre-square base inspired by the poem, One Square Metre of Prison (1986) by Palestinian poet and activist Mahmoud Darwish (1942–2008) who spent much of his adult life in solitary confinement and in exile: “I love the particles of sky that slip through the skylight – a meter of light where horses race”. The Garden is a powerful experience that offers visitors an opportunity to reflect on and contemplate the concept and privilege of freedom. The cells have also contributed to this area of designed landscape, a once overlooked wooded area within the Park, planted with oak, ash, hazel, lime and other native species. The project has catalysed enhanced management of the wood and new and abundant growth, which both strengthens the habitat and offers a sense of renewal and hope.
 
The Garden has been generously donated to YSP by a/political with support from the artist, following the Park’s seminal 2017 exhibition of the same name. The Garden is accompanied by the launch of The Garden of Good and Evil publication, which documents both iterations of the project with essays by visual theorist Professor Griselda Pollock and curator Professor Jon Bird, as well as an introduction by Clare Lilley, Director of Programme at YSP.
 
A hard-cover 160-page book featuring photographs of the work sited in the Park throughout the seasons, The Garden of Good and Evil reflects on the installation through an analysis of Jaar’s role as an artist committed to presenting a new way of seeing. Jon Bird’s If You Go Down to the Woods Today...Alfredo Jaar’s Sites of Resistance traces the vision for The Garden to Baldwin, Northeast Georgia which is home to the leading fabricator of modular steel detention cells in the US. The essay draws on examples of Jaar’s previous works and reveals the art historical connotations found in The Garden. Griselda Pollock’s essay revisits the 2017 exhibition at YSP, examining in close detail works which were on view, siting The Garden alongside other fundamental pieces from the artist’s decades-long career. The essay concludes with an analysis of the artist’s politics of images and notes the relevance of Jaar’s work in sensitising a global audience. 
 
Born in 1956 in Santiago, Chile, Jaar lived with his family in Martinique from the age of 5 to 15 and is now based in New York. Always carefully 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, London; M+ Hong Kong; Guggenheim and MoMA, New York; LACMA, Los Angeles; MASP, Sao Paulo; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. He was awarded a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2000. In 2018 he received the Hiroshima Art Prize, which recognizes the achievements of contemporary artists who have contributed to the peace of humanity.
 
Widely regarded as one of the world’s most politically engaging yet poetic artists, in his works Alfredo 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, the artist often uses constructed spaces and light to navigate what is seen and what is not.
 
As a platform for debate and the presentation of relevant current affairs, this project continues an important and popular strand of YSP’s programming that has included Shirin Neshat (Iran/US), Amar Kanwar (India) and Yinka Shonibare (Nigeria/UK). The Garden joins other significant permanent land-art works in the collection, including the Deer Shelter Skyspace by James Turrell, Hanging Trees and Outclosure by Andy Goldsworthy, and 49 Square and Black Mound by David Nash.
 
NOTES TO EDITORS
ABOUT THE ARTIST

Recent major exhibitions by Alfredo Jaar include the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2019); Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Australia (2019); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK (2017); Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa (2016); Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille, France (2015); Fondazione Mertz, Turin, Italy (2015); KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland (2014); and the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin, Germany (2012). Jaar emigrated from Chile in 1982, 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.

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Alfredo Jaar Press Release

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

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