Doug Aitken, Jules de Balincourt, Vlassis Caniaris, Elmgreen & Dragset, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Christian Holstad, Isaac Julien, Yayoi Kusama, Wangechi Mutu, Alice Neel, Chris Ofili, Richard Prince, Sarah Sze, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Kara Walker
Historical and contemporary works feature in a group exhibition by artists concerned with the socio-political issues of their day, who question the status quo and the power structures found within societies, and who take the very language of protest as a means to explore its potency. Taking as a starting point Alice Neel’s 1936 painting Nazis Murder Jews, the exhibition presents new and recent works by artists including Doug Aitken, Elmgreen & Dragset, Isaac Julien, Wangechi Mutu, Richard Prince and Sarah Sze amongst others. These works do not document protests per se, but rather through image, composition, gesture, material, form or concept, serve as a call to action – inspiring consideration of possibilities for a life of freedom, an insistence on human rights, and continued debate and dialogue around the immediate social and political issues which confront our global community. For this exhibition, the gallery is proud to be working with a charitable partner, Reprieve, a small organisation of committed human rights defenders who provide free legal and investigative support to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Clive Stafford Smith writes about Elmgreen & Dragset's Prison Breaking / Powerless Structures, Fig. 333
The Founder and Director of Reprieve discusses Elmgreen & Dragset's installation, part of the Victoria Miro exhibition Protest.
"I have often pondered – on a theoretical level – the morality of breaking someone out of death row. When the condemned man is innocent, most realist philosophers would cheer the helicopter pilot who hovers over the prison yard, winching the prisoner to safety moments before the scheduled execution.
As prison architects, Elmgreen and Dragset and their Prison Breaking / Powerless Structures, Fig. 333 would have made it easy on me: they have created a double prison cell that has been assaulted by nature. The metal bars are sundered, and the breezeblock walls have toppled along their own geological fault line. Everything about the cell is broken - I checked even the steel toilets and, like many prisons I have visited, the flush does not work…"