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Sally Clark
Binh Danh
Ian Everard
James Fee
Shelby Graham
Hanna Hannah
Robin Kandel
Aaron Kerner
Elyse Koren-Camarra
Keith Muscutt
Katsushige Nakahashi
Rebecca Ramos
Hideki Shiozawa
Robynn Smith
Kenji Yanobe

Sally Clark

Our first response to Sally Clark's work is beautiful, and, then, 'wham!' just like that, it hits us. These images disturb our understanding of the catastrophic experience, precisely because they are beautiful. Theodor Adorno, a German cultural critic, proposed that to write poetry after Auschwitz would be barbaric. And this has been integrated colloquially as a flat injunction against approaching the Holocaust artistically. There is an overriding demand to illustrate 'how it really was.' Adorno did however sometime later reverse his position. Despite this artistic approaches to the Holocaust have been viewed with guarded suspicion. And indeed there is something very unsettling about some soft-focus photos of children's shoes, or hair, or spectacles. Clark's work is nothing like this; it is, nonetheless, undoubtedly appealing.

There is nothing heavy handed about Clark's work, it does not issue grand moralistic statements, but speaks more to, using Hannah Arendt's phrase, the "banality of evil." The images themselves are marked, if not by anything else, the seemingly unencumbered continuance of life; the banalities that fill our day, going to the corner shop, playing a game of tennis. The shock, the horror, of these images are not only that they are visually pleasing, but that they appear to be reclaimed; that the horror of the events are all effaced from the communities surrounding them. The image of a courtyard, framed by a window sill - blue skies, with puffy white clouds, also reflected in the glass - reminds us of Magritte. But it also greatly displeases us: why is there no great dark looming cloud hanging over this site of catastrophic violence? There is nothing in this image that signifies the violence perpetrated there; does Clark's camera, then, not only work as a mechanism that records, but projects as well: projecting the human condition on to these sites? At Adolf Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem a man testifying to his encounter with Eichmann collapsed in a spastic fit, not because Eichmann was a monster, but because he was so ordinary.

Clark in that she captures the banality of everyday life, the horror of the events that took place in these sites, and in compositions of uncompromised beauty, does something that no one could expect: perhaps more than anyone else before her, she does show us artistically ... 'how it really was.'

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Sally Clark Photo 1 Sally Clark Photo 2
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Sally Clark Photo 5 Sally Clark Photo 6
Sally Clark Photo 7 Sally Clark Photo 8