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Speaking about Torture$
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Julie A. Carlson and Elisabeth Weber

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823242245

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823242245.001.0001

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Torture and Representation: The Art of Détournement

Torture and Representation: The Art of Détournement

(p.115) Chapter 8 Torture and Representation: The Art of Détournement
Speaking about Torture

Abigail Solomon-Godeau

Fordham University Press

Torture and Representation: The Art of Détournement This chapter reflects on visual art that addresses torture in the specific context of its practice at Abu Ghraib prison. It examines the oil paintings of Ferdinand Botero, web-based photographs by Clifford Fein, multi-media installations by Jenny Holzer (“Protect, Protect”), and posters designed by the anonymous collective Forkscrew (“iRaq”) in order to evaluate which forms and locales of visual production are most likely to prompt reflection on and protest against torture rather than voyeurism and visual consumption. It argues that projects like Holzer’s and Forkscrew’s that employ the French Situationists’ strategy of détournement—the appropriation of recognizable images in order to subvert, derail, or transfigure their original meaning—are more likely to resist the sensationalism and voyeurism that attend the long history of artistic representation of torture than the signature style of a Botero painting or the artistic simulations of torture in Fein’s photography.

Keywords:   Détournement, Voyeurism, Ferdinand Botero, Clifford Fein, Jenny Holzer, Hans Haacke, Forkscrew

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