While the museum has many more traditional Asian artifacts from Buddhist statues of compassionate deities to ancient Chinese maps, this exhibit is a contemporary dive into current topics of war and torture, sculptural expression of emotion, an undercurrent of beautiful male bodies and a reference to religious ecstasy.
From the exhibit guide: "This exhibition showcases the artist’s series of sculptures depicting young men in pain, sourced from war reportage images found online as well as in newspapers; their titles refer to specific historic political events and conflicts."
The sculptures are
- Action 131: Dying Iranian Soldier, 1987 (2013)
- Action 134: December 31, 1980, Ankara, Turkey (2013)
- Action 133: Dying American Soldier, Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, 9 November 2004 (2013)
- Action 132: Saigon, 5 August 1963 (2013)
|Mena: Saint Francis|
In an interview, he says: "In 2010 I saw an incredible exhibition of polychrome sculptures from seventeenth-century Spain, called The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600–1700 curated by Xavier Bray at the National Gallery in London. It blew my mind. I kept going back to see the exhibition over and over again. This was the starting point for this series of work. I started looking at the idea and mythology of martyrdom using the material vocabulary of seventeenth-century Spanish artists."
"I began to enter a dialogue with some of the seventeenth-century Spanish artists by creating four polychrome, hand-carved busts of unknown soldiers."
Head of a dying warrior
My reactionAs I entered the exhibit, I was struck that the four figures were in a circle. I was expecting sculptures on pedestals, that there would be a formal, static, presentation of the art. It created an immediacy, a sense that these were people, very much a live, almost as though they were in an ecstatic dance, not static sculpture depicting death.
|Reza Aramesh: Action 131: Dying Iranian Soldier, 1987 |
|Reza Aramesh: Action 132: Saigon, 5 August 1963 |
|A South Vietnamese Marine,|
severely wounded in a Viet Cong ambush,
is comforted by a comrade
in a sugar cane field at Duc Hoa,
about 12 miles from Saigon,
Aug. 5, 1963. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
|Reza Aramesh: Action 134: December 31, 1980, |
Ankara, Turkey (2013)
|Action 133: Dying American Soldier, Baghdad, Iraq, |
Tuesday, 9 November 2004 (2013)
The exhibit room is wallpapered, adding to the sense that was are in a personal living space, a living room or ballroom.