Galerie Lelong & Co., New York presents THE TEMPTATION TO EXIST, a solo exhibition by Alfredo Jaar. The exhibition is constructed in two moments with two major installations, both presented in the U.S. for the first time.
In the gallery’s main space, an immersive experience is created with a large, red neon work. The words of the stoic philosopher Seneca take center stage—”WHAT NEED IS THERE TO WEEP OVER PARTS OF LIFE? THE WHOLE OF IT CALLS FOR TEARS.” Alfredo Jaar’s second installation in the exhibition fills the second, smaller gallery space with more than 100 works from a diverse group of artists as well as a small selection of his own works. Here, the artist has tried to create what he calls “a space of resistance, a space of hope.” In juxtaposition to Jaar’s own work that was primarily created in resistance to Pinochet’s dictatorial regime in Chile (1973-1989), he has selected works from 72 artists who have sought to resist and change the world since the 1950s. These works are brought together by Jaar in an examination of memory and political participation from the last 70 years, revealing the intersection between culture and democratic life. Exhibited in close proximity to each other, the resounding voices of the artists invoke a shared history and reclamation of agency—a “we” that urges to change the world.
Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker. Using photography, sculpture, and film, Jaar has consistently provoked, questioned, and searched for ways to heighten our consciousness about issues often forgotten or suppressed in the international sphere, while not relinquishing art’s formal and aesthetic power. Over his career, Jaar has explored significant political and social issues including genocide, the displacement of refugees across borders, and the balance of power between developing and industrialized nations.