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Alfredo Jaar

The Sound of Silence

February 20 – May 2, 2009

Alfredo Jaar
Alfredo Jaar
Alfredo Jaar

Press Release

Galerie Lelong will present the internationally renowned artist Alfredo Jaar and his provocative work The Sound of Silence, a sculpture-and-film installation that addresses difficult questions about the human response to the suffering of others, the responsibilities of the witness, and the ownership of images that serve as witness in the media. At once a moving elegy and instigator, The Sound of Silence is a powerful testimony in Jaar’s longstanding examination of political injustices and the limitations of their representation through imagery. The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, February 28, from 6 to 8 pm, and the artist will be present.

An enclosed aluminum structure that compels the viewer to enter, The Sound of Silence physically engages to boldly deliver its message. A light at the door signals when people are permitted to enter the space, alternating between red and green. Once inside the structure, an 8-minute film presents the viewer with a silent narrative that slowly unfolds a somber and devastating real-life story. With The Sound of Silence, Alfredo Jaar uses remarkable force, grace, and economy to highlight a complex set of ethical and personal questions about the act of looking and the responsibilities that follow.

Also on view will be Searching for Africa in LIFE, a work in Jaar’s ongoing series investigating habitual misrepresentations and omissions made in the mainstream news media; 

Searching for Africa in LIFE focuses particularly on Africa and how it has been portrayed on magazine covers. The work displays 2126 Life covers spanning the 1930s to 1990s—amid portraits of movie stars and politicians, scenic landscapes, and exultant sporting events, images of African life and culture are scarcely seen.

The work of Alfredo Jaar has been exhibited extensively in institutions and public spaces worldwide for 30 years. Key solo exhibitions have been presented at the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts Lausanne, Switzerland; Fundación Telefónica, Santiago, Chile; Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; among others. Most recently, the Hangar Bicocca in Milan presented the artist’s largest retrospective to date. Currently he is featured in Aletheia – Positions in Contemporary Photography at the Helsinki City Art Museum; upcoming shows include an exhibition of new acquisitions at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark andContinental Rifts: Time-Based Works of Africa at the Fowler Museum of Art at UCLA. Jaar has participated in numerous biennials, including the 1986 and 2007 Venice Biennales and the Documenta exhibitions of 1987 and 2002. The Sound of Silence is Jaar’s fifth solo exhibition at Galerie Lelong.

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