The Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam is exhibiting the controversial artwork The Sound of Silence by Alfredo Jaar. In the exhibition the artist follows Christian Boltanski’s installation “Chance“. Jaar is the second artist to create an installation using up an entire room in the ZWART/WIT (BLACK/WHITE) programme of the Nederlands Fotomuseum.
The Sound of Silence is a rectangular construction with blinding light tells the story of the photojournalist Kevin Carter, who witnessed the famine in Sudan in 1993. In “The Sound of Silence” the problem of the image has central place, the controversial relationship between photography, and violence and human suffering. In an age when photographs of horrific acts have become commonplace and interchangeable, Jaar poses critical questions about media consumerism, empathy and individual responsibility, and denounces the “collective silence”. Another theme of The Sound of Silence is the role and influence of the image in western society.
Alfredo Jaar (1956, Chile) is an internationally famous artist, architect and filmmaker who lives and works in New York. He has created more than sixty works involving interventions in public spaces and more than fifty monographs have been published on his work. He has participated in most important Biennals all over the world and in the Documenta in Kassel. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow since 1985, a MacArthur Fellow since 2000, and in 2006 he was awarded the Spanish Premio Extremadura a la Creación. Alfredo Jaar will represent the country of his birth, Chile, at the Venice Biennale in 2013. For the past 30 years the work of Alfredo Jaar has been inspired by violations of human rights. His work, based on photographs, films, installations and texts, responds to current international events and touches on themes such as social and economic inequality, genocide, refugees, border conflicts and the role of photojournalism.
From 2012 to 2014 Nederlands Fotomuseum has a ZWART/WIT theme. Installations, exhibitions and activities on the contrast between black and white will be presented for three years. The programme, developed and composed by the curator Anne van der Zwaag, deals with thinking in terms of black and white, as well as with the cultural, political, anthropological and historical connotations of this contrast.