Paintings: oil on linen, 68 inches x 48 inches
Project website: www.weightsandmeasures.org
Weights and Measures: Portraits of Justice investigates past and current cases of international crime and justice through collective social portraiture and civic dialogues.
The title refers to a sense of being weighed down by the recurrence of atrocity but also measures approaches to justice, accountability for crimes, and the needs of victims and communities.
In personalizing the offenders, victims, and justice communities through portraiture, the project aims to foster communication and empathy among everyone impacted by mass social conflicts and/or injustice.
At the center of Weights and Measures are large-scale oil paintings or diptychs of defendants. The paintings are based on photographs of individuals as they appeared before international courts and tribunals. In active dialogue with the paintings are audio portraits or testimony from witnesses and victims who have been impacted by mass conflict, and color photographs of justice practitioners, who contributed significantly to international judicial initiatives.
This collective social portrait and accompanying civic dialogues emphasize individual and collective accountability in the face of massive social injustice.
Left: Nationalist - Slobodan Milošević (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, February 12th 2002, appearance, died in custody, trial terminated; after a photograph by Raphael Gaillarde)
Right: 'Reversal' Nationalist - Slobodan Milošević (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, February 12th 2002, appearance, after a photo by Raphael Gaillarde; died in custody, trial terminated)
Constitution Hill museum, Johannesburg, South Africa
Weights and Measures: Portraits of Justice is an exhibition of new portraits by international artist Bradley McCallum.
This exhibition explores the complexities involved in holding some of the most powerful men accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The title refers to a sense of being weighed down by the recurrence of atrocity but this heaviness is buoyed by measures of accountability that have come into existence.
Over the past four years the artist created portraits of the faces of individuals involved in international justice in different times and places. Thus far the collection includes paintings of 20 defendants standing trial, photographs of more than 60 justice practitioners involved in courts and human rights processes, as well as audio-portraits from survivors of international crimes. These portraits make visible the often invisible aspects of international courts and tribunals.
Through the artwork presented in Weights and Measures: Portraits of Justice Constitution Hill reflects upon international justice today. The exhibition in Johannesburg, South Africa, launches the tour of the project in Africa in 2017 followed by Europe and the United States in 2018.
EVA International Biennial, Limerick City, Ireland
Bradley McCallum’s work focuses on bringing together fine art and social practice. He describes his work as ‘an investigation into individual and collective social memory, responsibility, and actions’. His multifaceted projects, which include public actions, installations, videos, paintings, and sculpture, reflect upon media representations and social concerns, and are often inspired by American history and the legacies of race in contemporary American culture. The artist has worked collaboratively with Jacqueline Tarry since 1998. McCallum and Tarry have exhibited globally, and through their work they discuss issues revolving around marginalized members of society.
Embedded within their work, whether it is of an historical, personal, or civic-based nature, is their ability to address complicated issues concerning race and power. As an artist who wants to make us both think and question, to make us look – especially when we would rather look away – McCallum’s portraits demand we pay attention to what might lie beneath the surface. For each portrait he creates one hyper-realistic colour painting and one monochrome painting using grisaille technique.
His large-scale portraits of powerful men, such as Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (founder of a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo), Nuon Chea (chief ideologist of the Khmer Rouge), and Slobodan Milošević (president of Serbia 1989 to 1997), do not make explicit the violence (rape, murder, ethnic massacre, torture, and slavery) that these men in power often condoned. Instead the portraits have a complex and unsettling effect: the viewer is faced with the presence of the individual being portrayed. Moreover, these paintings testify on behalf of affected communities and challenge the audience to examine truths about the violence, alienation, and inhumanity that underlie many aspects of everyday life.
For EVA International 2016, McCallum will show several ‘reversal’ portraits from the series Weights and Measures, which he created over the past two years. They work explores masculine configurations of power in war, international relations, and militarism. The series comprises oil paintings based on photographic negatives of defendants taken as they appeared before international courts and tribunals.
In 2014 McCallum established a unique, one-year research-based residency at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court to develop the project. The residency gave him access to critical intelligence and historical perspectives, and introduced him to key people in the field. The international tour of Weights and Measures, which begins in April 2016 in The Netherlands and Ireland, will then continue to Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa – bringing the work directly to communities impacted by some of the defendants represented in this collective portrait of corrupted power.
Robert Blumenthal Gallery, New York, New York
Bradley McCallum at Robert Blumenthal gallery, through March 5.
By David Ebony
For years, Bradley McCallum, often working in collaboration with artist Jacqueline Tarry, has directed his artistic pursuits to sculptures, installations, paintings and performances with a political edge, and social significance, which are apparent in the ten recent works on view in this solo exhibition. The meticulously executed oil paintings, including large, photorealist-style portraits of notorious war criminals, explore masculine configurations of power, in war, international relations, and militarism. It is a potent and thought-provoking show with far-reaching implications, especially in this presidential election year, with all of its attendant angst, drama, and conflict.
The oil studies of tyrants, such as Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Cambodia’s notorious Nuon Chea, of the Khmer Rouge; and Serbia’s Slobodan Milošević, have a kind of jarring and palpable intensity, especially as McCallum paints each in “reversal” or negative image, which resembles a ghostly X-ray. Despite the harrowing subject matter, McCallum is hypersensitive to formal elements in the works, which can often appear elegant and restrained, as in a series of refined oval compositions of painted silk. These lively and colorful pieces feature artfully abstracted images of various violent demonstrations around the world, among them anti-US protests that inevitably include burning of the American flag.
Original full article: news.artnet.com
Kinz Tillou Fine Art, Brooklyn, New York
Curated by Bradley McCallum
'Post-conflict' is a term used in international recovery and justice communities to mark the end of a conflict and the beginning of a new period of development aid, reconstruction, and accountability. But the duration of time that marks the 'post' of the conflict is variable and fragile and involves multiple challenges-ranging from transitional justice issues to rebuilding civil society. While the problems, regions, politics and the points in time are all variable, the power of art to address incomprehensible human abuse, treat injustice as moments of self-examination, and focus our attention in visual and poetic ways remains constant.
This exhibition brings together works by artists who challenge us to examine political issues, prompting us to consider how they impact others, and how art might serve as a means or catalyst to raise political awareness and response.
The context for this exhibition is shaped by my work as the Artist in Residence at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and my role in defining and directing the long-term mission of the Coalition's Arts Initiative which aims to engage artists in fresh conversations about questions of international justice. In my own project with the CICC, I examine cases brought before the International Criminal Court concerning individuals accused of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity as well as those working to end impunity. For instance, even as criminals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are being tried at the International Criminal Court, the underlying conflict continues.
Many of the artist have long been committed to politically engaged work while others address a single instance of abuse. Some question the role of a nation, while others examine the more personal forces of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Artists featured in the exhibition are: CREATIVE COURT's series 'Africans and Hague Justice,' by several prominent African cartoonists, among them are GADO (Tanzania), Victor Ndula (Kenya), Brandan Reynolds (South Africa), and GLEZ (Burkina Faso/France); JENNY HOLZER's portraits of Guantanamo Bay detainees rendered through enlarged silk-screen paintings of declassified documents; PIETER HUGO and LANA MESIĆ's photographs Rwanda 20 Years: Portraits of Reconciliation and artworks from ALFREDO JAAR's Rwanda Project: 1994-2000, a series of twenty-one photography-based installation works; RICHARD MOSSE most recent Infra series capturing the ongoing war between rebel factions and the Congolese national army in the Democratic Republic of Congo; ADAM PENDLETON's LAB Painting (Two Rows Split Together white) juxtaposes image and text in order to reference the protests of 1968, and in particular the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico (also known as The Night of Tlatelolco from a book title by the Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska); DAAPO RÉO's video works about the itinerant and cross-cultural experience of African immigrants; and photographs from AI WEIWEI's infamous "Study of Perspective," a photo series completed between 1995 and 2011 in which the artists photographed himself 'giving the finger' to some of the world's most notable seats of cultural and political authority--from Tiananmen Square to the White House.
On 21st November 2016, the WAYAMO Foundation organized a preview of Weights and Measures, Through the Looking Glass – Imagining the Future of International Justice, to open a dialogue on the challenges faced by international criminal justice. As a side-event to annual meeting of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute (ASP) the exhibition was accompanied by a panel discussion exploring the future of global accountability in the light of declaration of withdrawals of South Africa, Burundi and Gambia from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Weights and Measures is made possible through the generous support of the following organizations:
National Endowment for the Arts (United States)
New York State Council on the Arts (United States)
The Embassy of Norway (South Africa)
The High Commission of Canada (South Africa)
StratAlign (South Africa)
Including individual gifts and significant in-kind support of our partners in South Africa and beyond:
Southern Africa Litigation Centre (South Africa)
Constitution Hill Museum (South Africa)
Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Center (South Africa)
Mesh Club (South Africa)
Creating Rights (Netherlands)
The Project Team:
Natasha Becker (Curator)
Kara Blackmore (Curator)
Nupur Mathur (Graphic Designer)
Naruki Kukita (Artist Assistant)
Marijn Smulders (Artist Assistant)
Jeff Sturges (Photographer)
Marijn Smulders (Photographer)
Masimba Sasa (Events Photographer)
Gavan Eckhart (Sound Engineer)
Brett Anolik (Videographer)
Scott Johnson (Intern)
Sibalwe Gcilitshana (Intern)
© Bradley McCallum 2017