Exhibition - January 23 to March 30, 2014
Sam Tata, Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army March Down the Bund (1949, printed 1970), gelatin silver print, 34.5 x 22.9 cm. NGC, CMCP Collection.
Benoit Aquin (Kanesatake)
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Admission to exhibitions is always free.
Clash: Conflict and Its Consequences
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada
Drawn from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, this exhibition presents the work of internationally recognized photojournalists, showing the range of approaches photographers and artists have taken to the subject of war and conflict.
The show includes direct reportage and staged reenactments, along with artists’ reflections on what remains after conflicts end: memorials to the fallen, objects that survived atomic blasts, sites of concentration camps, etc.
Central themes in the show are photography’s connection to trauma and remembrance – at a personal, communal and national level – and the question of what constitutes history, for whom and why? In this respect, the link between the photographer and the subject matter is crucial.
As much as the works display insight into victims’ experiences, they also draw attention to the relation of the photographer to what he or she is witnessing. Choice of subject matter is also critical. In numerous cases, the photographer has been compelled to record sites and objects of conflict.
There is recognition that such subject matter retains the traces of its histories, ones which, like memories, are in the process of disappearing. Absence, therefore, is very much a focus of this exhibition. But it is an absence alluded to by traces and, most importantly, our communal knowledge of what has occurred. Remembrance, in this instance, is imperfect but demanded.