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Alfredo Jaar

"Letizia", 2022

Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Lia Rumma Milano / Napoli

“Letizia Battaglia was an extraordinary photographer, the most important in Italy for the last 50 years. She fought patriarchy, and won. She fought the mafia and won. For her, photography was an act of resistance and an act of love. Go walk the streets of Palermo and you will find her.”
June 2 — September 30, 2022

mezzaterra11 – flat gallery is excited to introduce a solo exhibition of a new photographic work by Alfredo Jaar (b. Santiago, Chile, 1956). Under the brutal regime of General Pinochet who had overthrown the democratic government of Chile in a military coup (backed by the United States) on September 11, 1973, it was inevitable for Jaar to be an artist, who trained as an architect, as a form of resistance to dictatorship and international silence. Having fled to the U.S.A. in 1982, Jaar has become the most radical and uncompromising artist. For Jaar, context is everything; and consequently, all his work is born as a reaction to the reality that surrounds him. One of the most-widely known public project, A Logo for America—in Times Square, New York in 1987, has awakened us and changed the routines of seeing and saying without consciousness; Jaar has never failed to question and stimulate our indifference and slumbers on social and political issues around the globe including genocide, refugees, racism, continental inequality, and media manipulation, using various medium, based on deep research and investigation on every subject, such as public interventions, installation, photography, and film for over 40 years. Starting with a small exhibition, Three Women, in Paris in 2011, Jaar’s research on invisible women doing extraordinary work trying to change the world has massively grown, albeit unexpectedly, and expanded to a global scale. For mezzaterra11 – flat gallery, Jaar presents Letizia (2022) in homage to his late friend, Letizia Battaglia (b. Palermo, 1935 - 2022), considered the most important photographer in Italy for the last fifty years. She fought courageously and tirelessly against the notorious Sicilian Mafia during the 80s and 90s with a Leica camera alone. She published disturbing images in black and white of blood spilt deaths, corruption, political assassinations, poverty and devastation in the mournful Palermo caused by Cosa Nostra’s reign in the daily newspaper, L’Ora, and public places in order to stir the citizens to be enraged and to break the silence wrapped by a blanket of fear. Battaglia, furthermore, continued to fight for women’s rights in the patriarchal society. As Jaar says, she won both battles. Now we have Letizia, photographed by the artist, watching us in the street of Mezzaterra, Belluno, accompanied with Jaar’s words, “For her, photography was an act of resistance and an act of love. Go walk the streets of Palermo and you will find her.”

Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker based in New York. His work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Whitney Biennial (2022), Venice Biennial (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013), Sao Paulo Biennial (1987, 1989, 2010, 2020) as well as Documenta in Kassel (1987, 2002). Selected solo exhibitions include The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1992); Whitechapel, London (1992); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1994); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1995); and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2005). Major recent surveys of his work have taken place at Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2007); Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2008); Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin (2012); Rencontres d'Arles (2013); KIASMA, Helsinki (2014); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2017) and ZEITZ Museum in Cape Town, South Africa (2021-22). The artist has realized more than seventy public interventions around the world and over sixty monographic publications have been published about his work. He has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship (1985); the MacArthur Fellowship (2000); the 11th Hiroshima Art Prize (2019); and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (2020).

mezzaterra11 – flat gallery is a conceptual project space that opens up new interpretations on documentation images of contemporary artworks, by creating meta-linguistic translation as a white cube is compressed to be flat. International artists are invited to present their work with one image that is selected, adapted, and ultimately, printed for the space as a format of a solo show.