The Renaissance Society
The University of Chicago
5811 South Ellis Avenue
Bergman Gallery, Cobb Hall 418
Meanwhile in Baghdad É
November 11-December 21, 2007
From the demise of communism to the Iraq war, globalization has taken a turn from the rhetoric of optimism to the reality of conflict. With the war going into its fifth year, the events in Iraq are less the headlines these days and more a backdrop. Meanwhile in BaghdadÉ is a group exhibition which takes the war as a general context in which to examine a range of artistic responses, some as direct as Daniel HeymanŐs Abu Ghraib Project in which the artist made engravings based on first hand accounts he gathered from victims of torture, and others as viscerally poignant as a series of bandaged bed frames by Jannis Kounellis.
Artists include: Adel Abidin, Walead Beshty, Matt Davis, Daniel Heyman, Jenny Holzer, Maryam Jafri, Jannis Kounellis, Ann Messner, and Jonathan Monk.
...Since March 2006, Daniel Heyman has traveled to Amman, Jordan and Istanbul, Turkey at the invitation of Philadelphia law firm Burke Pyle LLC to participate in interviews that the firm, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch, and Detroit law firm Akeel and Valentine PLC were conducting. The lawyers were gathering evidence for a class action lawsuit on behalf of dormer detainees at Abu Ghraib Prison. Heyman witnessed the interviews and created drypoint prints in an effort to attach personal faces to the Abu Ghraib story. Heyman explains his process: "I sit in this hotel room and draw the face of an Iraqi who is telling the most humiliating and degrading story of his life. I try to disappear. I draw, first a small sketch on a scrap of paper, and then a copper plate using a stylus. As I listen and draw, I am also inscribing the words I hear into the copper, backwards. I have to write very quickly, so that I do not loose the thread of the story.Ó