From the Files is a new feature on the Light Work blog that highlights artifacts from our large artist and project archive. From the Files provides a visual history of our mission to support emerging and under-recognized artists.
In 1989, Alfredo Jaar created the installation Sheer Conviction in the Robert B. Menschel Gallery, our exhibition space located in the Syracuse University Schine Student Center. These are the floor plans for the exhibition that Jaar drew up after visiting the gallery. Click on the images to enlarge them.
Six light boxes, each 96 x 20 inches, were suspended from the ceiling with the wiring hidden so that the boxes would appear to float when the room was darkened. The light boxes featured photographs on both sides—one side displayed images of anonymous protesters, the other side pictures of soldiers.
In the Menschel Gallery catalog (Menschel Gallery Catalog #15) published in conjunction with the exhibition, then Director Jeffrey Hoone writes of the project, “Viewers must interact with the piece—walk between the light boxes from protesting civilians to dour-faced military zealots. Where do I stand? Which side am I on? Who is on the other side? What am I up against? What shall I do? The audience must respond to these questions as participant and observer, ruthless oppressor and hapless victim. We must decide what side we’re on, our silence speaks against our beliefs—we must come forward and be heard.”
Jaar’s eloquent commentary on state suppression, both the apparatus that supports it and those who attempt to subvert it, found a perfect home in the Menschel Gallery.