The capitalized banality of terrorism and the fundamentalists’ loss of identity constitute the core of this exhibition, which puts forth a searing reflection on the idea of the representation of war and its many protagonists. It deals with images of terrorist organizations and regular army troops —mostly from the U.S. military—, who play a decisive role in the so-called “war on terror”. Thus, Mariana Najmanovich creates pictorial compositions which expose the common features of supposedly disparate cultures, underpinned by a similar language and shared psychological traits.
Scenes of past wars, often integrated into the virtual reality simulations used for the training of soldiers, appear here side by side with a series of paintings of toy soldiers —a stereotype of terrorism. In both, Najmanovich poses the implicit reductionism present in military themes: in the first case, through contemporary technology’s detached and cold trivialization of experience; in the second case, by neutralizing the violence in the content, which takes the shape of toys that circulate as commodities in the international market.
Three more works complete the exhibition, all related to the history of armed conflict: the first engages the intricate political and economic relations between the Middle East and Europe since the early 20th century; a second work recalls a session of rigorous training of ISIS militants; and a third one based on a 1993 report by the British daily The Independent, which presents us with a favorable profile of the man who would become one of the most prominent figures in the narrative of terrorism: Osama Bin Laden.
Pálido Fuego [Pale Fire] thus reflects on the psychological distortions of humans in diverse violence-related contexts. Each of these operates as an independent node and, at the same time —although depicting supposedly different cultures— addresses common features which reveal the forms of construction of contemporary society.
Mariana Najmanovich studied Visual Arts, majoring in Painting at Universidad Finis Terrae (Chile). She obtained her Master’s degree in Artistic Creation at Universidad de Barcelona (Spain). Using photography as a referential source, she creates images which reflect upon the psychological debasing of humans in contexts of violence.