Alfredo Jaar

(1956) Chilean


Born in Santiago, Alfredo Jaar studied architecture and film at the University of Chile in 1973. He exhibited his work in Chile in the late 1970s and moved to New York in 1982, where he established a significant international reputation. His work has appeared regularly in exhibitions at New Museum of Contemporary Art, Documenta VII in Kassel (1987), at the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, among many others. Jaar has completed public art projects for the University of Washington in Seattle and for Stockholm 98. Among his books are Let There Be Light, The Rwanda Project 1994-1998 (1998), The Eyes of Gutete Emerita (1996), A Hundred Times Nguyen (1994), and Two or Three Things I Imagine About Them (1992).
Jaar's installations investigate preconceptions about people living in the Third World. He makes photographs of individuals in Brazil, Rwanda, and other countries who look less like pitiful, oppressed victims than like powerful survivors of oppressive economic, political, and social environments. His installations are typically elaborate environments of oddly positioned mirrors and tilted supports. In most instances, his photographs are shown as transparencies mounted in light boxes, which are placed at unusual heights and angles. These displays deliberately disturb the viewer's relationship to the images. The result is an intensely focused and startling experience that challenges our received notions.
Lisa Hostetler
Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 219.
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