Lasting Images

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This exhibition brings together a selection of works from the Guggenheim’s collection of global contemporary art. What links these diverse sculptures, installations, videos, and works on paper is neither a shared vocabulary of images nor a common set of themes, but a set of strategies that the artists have employed to give material form to ineffable experiences. Many of the artists in the exhibition are originally from countries that have witnessed violence and conflict in recent decades, and yet none of the works can be reduced to simple biographical accounts or conventional historical narratives. Each piece functions as a vehicle for individual expression while resonating with universal themes.

Even as they evoke the spare forms of Minimal art, or incorporate Conceptual techniques of appropriation and repetition, the works in Lasting Images also exemplify an expressive use of materials. Doris Salcedo’s rose petals, Mona Hatoum’s barbed wire rods, and Simryn Gill’s modified book pages can carry a psychological charge that is irreducible to the literal objects presented in the gallery. These works suggest that truly lasting images—those that are most affecting—rarely convey direct messages. Instead, the pieces in this exhibition use ephemeral materials to define spaces for the viewer that invite open-ended contemplation.

Lauren Hinkson, Assistant Curator, Collections

Mona Hatoum, Impenetrable, 2009. Black finished steel and finished wire, 300 x 300 x 300 cm, edition 3/3. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Collections Council; International Director’s Council; with additional funds from Anne Ames, Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian, and Marcio Fainzilber 2012.10 © Mona Hatoum. Photo: David Heald


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