Victoria Miro – Protest Exhibition

Protest is a exhibition which shows the work of 17 artist. It is an exhibition which shows concerns over the socio-political issues of the artists day where they question the status quo and the power of structures found within societies. The work looks at the language of protests, and is not necessarily based on protests themselves but is used as a way to explore their potency.

Elmgreen & Dragset’s installation Prison Breaking/Powerless Structures, Fg. 333, 2002

This piece was the first artwork that caught my eye when I walked in the room, this installation piece looks like a prison cell which has been destroyed, all the materials used look like what you would find in a prison cell. Due to it’s life-like size you can walk through the installation, seeing all the object, or lack of that have been put in the cells. The fact that the cell has seemingly been destroyed and people can walk freely in and out of them makes them meaningless as the objective of a cell is to keep people in.
This work is important as it shows how pointless captivity can be, at first sight I found the work quite intimidating, I’ve never experience being near a cell before and with all that it symbolises being able to walk around it, it became less worrying.

Doug Aitken, Free, 2016

Doug Aitken’s work shows the word Free sculpted and then lined using a shattered mirror as you walk around the sculpture changes, the light and reflections change depending how you look at it. One way to look at this work is that it’s showing how fragile freedom is, and from a more superstitious point of view as a broken mirror means bad luck, in which this piece could perhaps be foreseeing this for the future.

Kara Walker, Tell Me Your Thoughts on Police Brutality Miss ‘Spank Me Harder’, 2015

Kara Walker’s work shows drawings in pencil on paper, she combines these drawings with writing. Her work explores racism and it very important with the recent killings and assaults which has brought together the Black Lives Matter campaign. Her work also looks back at the legacy of the American Civil War. The way the figures are drawn really show the anger and hurt she feels towards this matter which makes it even more emotive.

Richard Prince, Untitled (protest), 2012-2014.

Richard Prince’s work is based on photographs which are juxtaposing images of heated demonstrations with pornographic image. The images aren’t consistent in size or placement, but with most of the couplings for pornographic images seem to dominate the images of protests. An emotion that both images seem to connect by is heated and in a way makes me think of the term ‘make love not war’.

Sarah Sze, Calendar Series China Revision, 2015
Sarah Sze, Calendar Series China Revision, 2015

Sarah Sze’s work has been created using newspapers and acrylic paint, and the images shown on the print have also seemingly been changed. In her previous work Calendar Series, 2013 Sze’s work was rejected by censors ahead of its inclusion in a biennial in China, for Protest she has included her work which shows New York Times covers, covering up all of the content, apart from the content which references China.
As you can see from the images there is very little from the cover which isn’t covered with acrylic paint, and in some I really had to search to actually find the part that was not covered up, which shows how little China is mentions in the New York Times.

Alice Neel, Nazis Murder Jews, 1936

Protest not only shows recent work but also historical works such as the oil on canvas painting shown above. The painting depicts a Communist party torchlight parade through the streets of New York City. The painting is very dark which gives emphasise to the brightest part of the painting, the Nazis Murder Jews banner which has given the painting its name. I found this painting quite disturbing to look at due to the darkness that surround it not just in tones but also with the time in which it shows.

The Protest exhibition as a whole was very eye opening to all different issue there are, and through sculpture, installation, painting and video the work shows many different ways to express emotion through art and to also put light on important matters both in the past and that are still going on today.


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