Iraq Round One

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This is an older, yet, still so relevant, series of works dealing with the human suffering we see on TV at the end of the news before the weather report.  It relates to these images from third world countries that are formatted through the media to provide a cheap emotional thrill before we get absorbed in our favorite series.  Each work shows a re-interpretation of TV reportage. It explores an embodied vision of suffering as well as how bodies bear witness to the power they suffer from.  It seeks to put some flesh on the clinical vocabulary used to dehumanize the victims and disregard the violence lived and experienced by people subjected to totalitarian regimes.

One automatically thinks of photography as the media of choice for the rendition of human suffering.  But however harrowing photography can be, the dead, the wounded, the deported, the suffering remains viewed from a distance, almost in a voyeuristic way.  The painting of the same atrocities, of the body modified, martyred, humiliated and annihilated, doesn’t “show” reality but traces the unfolding of a physical and emotional process. The painting will imagine and distort reality in order to create a sense of immediacy rather than rely on objectivity. The bodies on the canvas become ours; we suffer from their wounds and afflictions as much as we have inflicted them.

Patrick Altes

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