Michael Rakowitz’s exhibition is the most recent manifestation of his long-term project The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist (2007–) that unfolds as an intricate narrative surrounding the artifacts stolen from the National Museum of Iraq, in Baghdad, in the aftermath of the US–led invasion in April 2003.
The centerpiece of The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist is a series of sculptures that represent an attempt to reconstruct the thousands of looted archeological artifacts. Rakowitz reconstructs these lost works of art with the leftovers of daily life, be it paper, cardboard or metal, and displays them on tables. The labels that accompany these sculptures trace out each piece’s variegated history.
- Installation view The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archaeology, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA, 2013 Photo: Robert Chase Heishman, Chicago Courtesy of the artist and Barbara Wien Gallery, Berlin