I don’t want to be there when it happens
SYDNEY. 18 AUGUST – 8 OCTOBER 2017.
Raj Kumar, Sonia Leber & David Chesworth and Adeela Suleman.
I don’t want to be there when it happens brings together artists who explore the psychology of contemporary trauma. Recent works by Raj Kumar, Sonia Leber & David Chesworth and Adeela Suleman all confront the larger socio-political realities of Pakistan in the era of contemporary warfare. Through video and installation, the artists address the experience of the individual in the midst of a continuous state of war. By scanning the landscape with nonsensical logic, futilely seeking to document destruction, and questioning the appropriation of religion, the artworks in the exhibition avoid resolution and closure. Instead, they highlight the individual’s inability to comprehend the expansive uncertainty of combat, and the impossibilities of representing the trauma of conflict.
I don’t want to be there when it happens presents truth as a precarious oscillation between fiction and reality. The artists resist literal or documentary approaches to their subjects, relying instead on speculative, symbolic, ambiguous and unstable modes of representation. In doing so, they emphasise how the individual’s attempts to understand and comprehend the reality of contemporary conflict are equally characterised by uncertainty and irresolvability. I don’t want to be there when it happens also seeks to acknowledge and present a multiplicity of perspectives on the ongoing conflicts in Pakistan and its region—perspectives which are all too easily overlooked or obscured by Western media and political interests.
Adeela Suleman’s work to be shown in I don’t want to be there when it happens has been co-commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and The Keir Foundation.