This exhibition marks Quinn’s first solo show in Berlin and brings together tapestries, sculpture and new paintings. Each body of work is concerned with conflict and its representation in the mass media, questioning the way imagery has the power to both depict and shape conflict.
What unites these works is that they are all related to Quinn’s interest in how images, particularly images of the mass media, develop a life of their own once they are being disseminated on a large scale.
For centuries the genre of history painting was regarded as the highest and noblest form of art. Typically, the scenes depicted celebrate the virtues, the power and the rule of the patron who commissioned them. History paintings were hung on the walls of castles, so as to reinforce the status of the person in power. Quinn’s tapestries invert this logic. The riots depicted in ‘The Creation of History’ series draw upon uprisings, which developed from the bottom-up, rather than being imposed by a ruler.
Furthermore, unlike traditional history paintings, Quinn’s tapestries are not hung on a wall but lie on the floor. They are made not only to be looked at, but to be walked on. As they are walked upon, they erode over time, just as stories in the news eventually fade away into distant memory. “One thing that really strikes me”, Quinn says, “is that, never mind how horrendous a news headline might be, eventually it will be forgotten. In other words: the tapestries are also about history as memory.”
This exhibition reminds us how the whole world continues despite the terrible things taking place at the same time. It also suggests that, at the end of the day, even the cruelest of events eventually become footnotes in history.
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