War Zones: Present Tense
MONA HATOUM, NANCY PATERSON
May 15–June 26, 1999
Curated by Karen Henry and Karen Love
War Zones is a project which presents photo- and media-based art work concerned with situations of conflict in the late Twentieth Century. The works, by an international selection of contemporary artists, are divided into three sections: Siting Conflict, Present Tense and Bearing Witness.
Present Tense explores images of conflict involving spectacle, gender relations, terrorism and apocalyptic visions. In the exhibition at Artspeak Gallery, Mona Hatoum and Nancy Paterson both picture women in relation to war and media. Hatoum’s billboard project Over My Dead Body (1988) is an image steeped in contradictions, expressing both a towering strength of conviction and an ironic vulnerability in relations between men and women, civilian and soldier. Paterson’s installation The Machine in the Garden (1993)—a technological one-armed bandit—incorporates images of war, talking heads, and children’s programs whirring together in a game of chance, each as relevant and powerful as the next. The payoff is expressed as a chance combination of the Buddhist axiom “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” This piece addresses war images as saturated by commercial interests and part of entertainment: immediate, superficial, without depth, but with potential spiritual consequences.
In Collaboration with Presentation House Gallery