Repetition is Truth – Via Dolorosa
Museo d’Arte contemporanea DonnaREgina,
Via Settembrini 79, 80139, Naples, Italy
16 April – 4 July 2011
In April Rachel Howard’s series of monumental canvases, Repetition is Truth – Via Dolorosa, will be displayed in public for the first time at The Museo d’Arte contemoranea Donna Regina (Museo MADRE), Naples, within the deconsecrated Donnaregina Vecchia church.
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. 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’sCritique 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.