Alfredo Jaar

Untitled (Water), 1992

Artist
Alfredo Jaar
Title
Untitled (Water)
Dimensions and medium
5 light boxes with colour transparencies and 25 framed mirrors, 2/2, 118.5 × 1128 × 71 cm (overall)
Artwork description
At the back of a darkened room, a line of five lightboxes show photographs of a blue ocean. On the wall behind these, a row of small mirrors reflects other images mounted on the back of the lightboxes. As viewers move through the space, the fragmented images reveal the faces of Vietnamese refugee children, adults and adolescents aboard precarious boats. Alfredo Jaar’s installation Untitled (Water) depicts the tragic lives of illegal immigrants who left their seaside country following the Vietnam War. In the early 1990s, thousands of people were still being held in detention centres in Hong Kong, awaiting their refugee status or their deportation to Vietnam. Through photographic manipulation and a strategic economy of means, Jaar incites us to re-examine our values and to question our understanding of political and social issues.

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