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Inferno & Paradiso

1999-09-26 to 1999-10-31

The artist Alfredo Jaar was born in Chile but now lives in New York. He is one of the leading representatives of international modern art. In 1994 he went to Rwanda in the middle of the genocide that was going on there, an experience which changed his life and his art. It was this experience that subsequently inspired Alfredo Jaar to stage the exhibition Inferno & Paradiso in co-operation with Bildmuseet and Riksutställningar.

In Inferno & Paradiso Alfredo Jaar has conceived and realized an exhibition of photographs taken by eighteen of the world's leading press photographers. They were invited to choose two photographs from their production: the most desperate and painful photograph they had ever taken and the most hopeful, the one that had given them most joy. The photographs will be presented as slide projections in a suggestive installation. The photographers represented in the exhibition are: Corinne Dufka, USA, Themba Hadebe, South Africa, Hocine, Algeria, Adriana Lestido, Argentina, Witold Krassowski, Poland, Yunghi Kim, USA, Joachim Ladefoged, Denmark, Wendy Sue Lamm, USA, Peter Magubane, South Africa, Susan Meiselas, USA, Ricardo Rangel, Mozambique, Dayanita Singh, India, Takeyoshi Tanuma, Japan, David Turnley, USA, Francesco Zizola, Italy, Swapan Parekh, India, Marcelo Theobald, Brazil, and Cristina Garcia Rodero, Spain.

According to conventional wisdom, today's media, with their constant barrage of images of human suffering, have a paralysing effect on people, making them emotionally immune and dulling the intellect. The exhibition Inferno & Paradiso examines, questions and reverses this notion. The press photographer travels in a foreign land like Virgil in Dante's Divine Comedy, not a part of the suffering and agony of the inhabitants, but seeing and affected by it. It is the task of the photographer to meet the stricken population, to persuade people to tell their stories and to record them for the world. How does the photographer cope with this task? What do we, the observers of such people's anguish or joy, get out of these images? A catalogue of all the photographs, with texts by Julia Kristeva and Juan Goytisolo, has been issued for the exhibition.