Living with War: Artists on War and Conflict
Group show exploring human-made atrocity includes work by Goya and Jenny Holzer
Taking a turn from the conceptual exhibitions that often fill GOMA’s Gallery 1, Living with War: Artists on War and Conflict covers 200 years of artists’ responses to human-made atrocity, from Goya’s ‘The Disasters of War’ etchings (1810–20) to one of Jenny Holzer’s LED screens. Through a wide range of works taken from Glasgow Museums’ collection, Living with War not only provides perspective on how artists attempt to make an impact by exploring issues such as sectarianism, famine and torture, but it also showcases how effective such attempts at artistic political action can be.
The varying impact of the works plays to the exhibition’s advantage: obvious pieces such as kennardphillipps’ ‘Know Your Enemy’ set off the graceful simplicity of others, such as Emily Jacir’s ‘Crossing Surda (a record of going to and from work)’, a video of the Palestinian artist’s daily walk through an Israeli checkpoint, where the mundane becomes harrowing and the harrowing becomes mundane. It is art’s contested ability to contribute to politics that’s on display here, as much as the politics themselves.
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, until Sun 9 Mar 2014