Scenes From a Liberated Iraq
September 10 - November 6, 2004
Gallery Luisotti is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition Simon Norfolk – Scenes From A Liberated Iraq. This will be the debut gallery exhibition of Simon Norfolk’s recent photographs from Baghdad, Iraq. When in Baghdad in April of 2003 Simon Norfolk encountered a country torn by war and the change forced upon it. In Norfolk’s images we see and feel the raw forms of contemporary ruin. The photographer is an archeologist of the present, laying out the evidence of turmoil and destruction in lives contemporary to his own. The details of his large-scale photographs open a space of contemplation and reconsideration, images of landscape lost behind the veil of inadequate media coverage. Scenes From A Liberated Iraq is an unforgettable journey, bringing the viewer closer to a reality that cannot be ignored.
In Baghdad Simon Norfolk photographs the edge of human condition, a place where human relations are both frayed and reinforced. Norfolk presents views of the landscape where the ruination of war is inseparable from human emotion. The vacancy of modern ruins, such as the side of a building burned and charred by battle, are paired with images of piled, unexploded ammunitions or hidden weapons systems. In the fine details of these images we find signs of life – a pair of sneakers beside an unmarked grave site, a pair of boots in an abandoned artillery position, or a small boy beside the looted arm of a Saddam Hussein statue. Like a true documentary, Simon Norfolk’s photographs unveil the facts of the Iraq conflict and lay them out for the viewers contemplation, not forcing our hand but allowing each viewer to arrive at their own conclusions.
Simon Norfolk’s aesthetic is a break from photojournalism so familiar to the mediated eyes of a 21st century American. His images unfold the complexity of issues from both ends, hiding little through fully revealing the places of rupture between love and hate. This is the beauty of the aesthetic line Norfolk traces, a place where the democracy of images speak for themselves. Simon Norfolk’s Baghdad is a place that has too easily been overlooked by American media. With his images the step between ruin and reconstruction is a difficult one, but is nonetheless a step filled with hope.