Hanging the War at Home is a series of works that operates upon a specific contemporary strategy of neutralization of violence and its media representation. This neutralization is obtained through stylization – in order to achieve it, violent images acquired from written press are contained within frames or canvases and hung against images acquired from home decoration magazines showing a variety of home interiors.
A quick gaze at the work might not reveal these violent images. However immediately afterwards -and due to the use of collage that can be disquieting when making a critique re-reading of the elements shown- the violence emerges. Death and destruction appears in front of our eyes but because of its ornamental character these expressions of violence hanging against those quiet home interiors can’t hurt us.
In a Fosterian sense we can talk about a confrontation between the initial reading of the work and a deferred one. The confrontation of the two readings produce a sense of disapproval when contemplating the images, which activates the notion of cynical reason. In Hanging the War Home the activation of such registers comes by way of adopting images detached from their meaning but not from their referents. By meticulously forcing violent images into a new context, the outcome camouflages their subversion. In this way, the subtle transfer of the cynical spectrum to the spectator is a very effective tool for critique.
In the works, the image of each one of the environments is painted and in some cases, so is the text that is printed over the pictures of these homely environments. These texts establish a cruel irony, produced in the contrast between the image of the home (a space of protection par excellence) and the work of art (in this case a representation of violence). The title of each paper corresponds to the source of the image of violence. These representations are a consequence of terrorism -basically, Islamic- the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recent wars in Lebanon or the ongoing stressful situation at Gaza.
A clear reference is Martha Rosler’s series of collages Bringing the war home (1967-72)