Museo MADRE Via Luigi Settembrini, 79 80139, Napoli, Italy
16 APRIL- 4 JULY 2011
Buy Rachel Howard's 'Repetition is Truth - Via Dolorosa' book online here.
Via Dolorosa, Latin for ‘Way of Suffering’, is the name of a street within the Old City of Jerusalem, believed to be the path that Jesus walked, bearing the cross, towards his crucifixion. It is also another name for the fourteen Stations of the Cross, which depict these final hours of his life – the Passion. While Howard’s fourteen paintings reference the Passion, the creation of the series was in fact provoked by one of the most shocking photographs to emerge from the prison camp at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. Detainees routinely endured torture and humiliation at the hands of American military personnel, as exposed through the media. The particular image was of a prisoner standing on a box, hooded and wired with electrodes; thus the box becomes the modern day equivalent of the Cross – a tool of humiliation and torment.
Howard’s paintings ebb and flow creating a metaphysical journey between abstraction and figuration, offering a compelling observation of human rights abuses and the appalling ability of women and men to demonstrate extreme cruelty towards each other. Art historian and curator Joachim Pissarro has described the series as “sublime”, in accordance with Kant’s Critique of Judgement: “The sublime is to be found in an object even devoid of form, so far as it immediately involves, or else by its presence, provokes, a representation of limitlessness, yet with a super-added thought of its totality.” It is this idea of limitlessness that Howard seeks to engage with, the belief that human suffering is never-ending, hence the name of the work – Repetition is Truth.