Goodman Gallery Cape Town
5 March – 11 April 2015
Goodman Gallery presents Divine Violence by Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, recipients of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013 for their publication War Primer 2, and the International Centre for Photography Infinity Award 2014 for their publication Holy Bible.
While visiting the Bertolt Brecht archives in Berlin, Broomberg & Chanarin discovered a remarkable artefact: Brecht’s personal bible. The object caught their attention because it had a photograph of a racing car stuck to the cover. Inside the pages they discovered that the German playwright had used his bible as a notebook; pasting in images, underlining phrases and making notes in the columns.
This was the inspiration for their own illustrated Holy Bible, which they realised first in book format (published by Mack, 2013) and now, on show at Goodman Gallery as a full-scale exhibition. For this project, the artists have combined images taken from The Archive of Modern Conflict – the largest archive in the world dedicated to images of war and conflict – with phrases in the text which they have underlined in red ink.
A short essay by the Israeli philosopher Adi Ophir underpins the work. In his writing, Ophir observes that God reveals himself in the bible predominantly through acts of catastrophe, and considers the biblical text as a parable for the growth of modern governance. With this new exhibition, Broomberg & Chanarin trace the intimate relationship between photography, acts of catastrophe and state power.
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin are artists living and working in London. Together they have had numerous international exhibitions including The Museum of Modern Art, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, The Gwagnju Biennale, the Stedelijk Museum, the International Center of Photography, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, The Photographers Gallery, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art and Museo Jumex. Broomberg & Chanarin are Visiting Fellows at the University of the Arts London. Their work is represented in major public and private collections including Tate Modern, The Museum of Modern Art, the Stedelijk Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Musee de l’Elysee, The International Center of Photography, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Current exhibitions include Conflict, Time and Photography at Tate Modern and the Shanghai Biennale 2014.
Adam Broomberg (born 1970, Johannesburg, South Africa) and Oliver Chanarin (born 1971, London, UK) are artists living and working between London and Berlin. They are professors of photography at the Hochschule für bildende Künste (HFBK) in Hamburg and teach on the MA Photography & Society programme at The Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Hague which they co-designed. Together they have had numerous solo exhibitions most recently at The Centre Georges Pompidou (2018) and the Hasselblad Center (2017). Their participation in international group shows include the Yokohama Trienniale (2017), Documenta, Kassel (2017), The British Art Show 8 (2015-2017), Conflict, Time, Photography at Tate Modern (2015); Shanghai Biennale (2014); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014); Tate Britain (2014), and the Gwanju Biennale (2012). Their work is held in major public and private collections including Pompidou, Tate, MoMA, Yale, Stedelijk, V&A, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Baltimore Museum of Art. Major awards include the ICP Infinity Award (2014) for Holy Bible, and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2013) for War Primer 2. Broomberg and Chanarin are the winners of the Arles Photo Text Award 2018 for their paper back edition of War Primer 2, published by MACK.