Galerie Lelong & Co. and Goodman Gallery are pleased to present vintage works by Alfredo Jaar created in Chile in the 1970s and 1980s at Frieze Masters Spotlight — the first major overview of this body of work in the UK. These historical works speak to a critical time in Chile's history under General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship, after democratically elected president Salvador Allende was overthrown on September 11, 1973. Within contemporary contexts, Jaar's early inquiries into the politics of imagery and representation bear new relevance.
Works on view include Jaar's seminal Studies on Happiness (1979-81), a multi-component work that sought ways to intervene in urban space under Pinochet's dictatorship. In one component, Jaar placed billboards with the message "¿Es usted feliz?" [Are you happy?] around Santiago. Within the context of a repressive government, Jaar's devices that encouraged public participation and engagement with the possibilities of representation were deeply subversive.
In _Faces _(1982), Jaar presents journalistic photos taken in Chile following the September 11, 1973 coup and Nobel Peace Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda's funeral, juxtaposing the original with an enlarged detail of an individual's face in the crowd. Within this seemingly simple rearrangement of documented reality, Jaar humanizes and heightens the emotional weight of history, provoking an examination of the ethics and limits of images as the juncture between aesthetics and information.
Alfredo Jaar continues to investigate new ways to represent the world; his works consistently provoke, question, and search for ways to raise consciousness about issues often forgotten or suppressed at an international level, while retaining art's formal and aesthetic power. Jaar says, "From the beginning I was very much interested not only in written information, but also in visual information, in images. Later, I realized that I was interested in the politics of images, although I did not have a name for it at that time."
Jaar will be the subject of a major solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, from October 14, 2017 – April 8, 2018 including a new permanent growing installation, The Garden of Good and Evil, donated by a/political. His work has been shown extensively around the world, including the Venice Biennale, Italy (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013); São Paulo Biennale, Brazil (1987, 1989, 2010); and Documenta, Germany (1987, 2002). Major recent retrospectives of his work have taken place at the Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts, Switzerland; Hangar Bicocca, Italy; Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Germany; Rencontres d'Arles, France; and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Finland. Jaar was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1956 and has been based in New York City since 1982.
Wednesday 4 October
Thursday 5 October (Premium Day) to Sunday 8 October