Disasters of War: Farideh Lashai on Goya

BY Katrina Kufer / Jul 19 2017 / 14:16 PM

Iranian artist Farideh Lashai’s Prado exhibition reinforces the bittersweet timelessness of Goya’s iconic dark prints, Disasters of War

Disasters of War: Farideh Lashai on Goya
Image courtesy Museo del Prado, Madrid
Installation view

The exhibition title, When I Count, There Are Only You… But When I Look, There Is Only a Shadow, sets the tone of the Museo del Prado’s latest project, part of the PHotoEspaña festival. A poetic reference to T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland (1922), it further draws inspiration from the dark works of Francisco Goya – more specifically – his Disasters of War prints (1810-20).

The mood embraces the horror of Goya scenography juxtaposed against the romanticism of Eliot’s poetry, all of which are encapsulated in the video installation by the late Lashai. She manipulated the prints by removing the figures to leave empty settings, upon which she projected animated imagery via a roving spotlight to the rhythm of Chopin Nocturnes. The use of movement and music creates a somber, ephemeral sensation that plays against the concrete nature of printmaking, the traumas of history and the erasure of narrative in the face of disaster. Her use of fragmentation, both narratively and physically, is haunting.

Also on display are prints that inspired the Goya work, as well as works between his Black Paintings and The 3rd of May phases — part of the museum, and collaborator Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado’s intention to create a dialogue that reinforces the universal and timeless relevance of Goya’s message. Lashai’s interpretation, created in the final seven years of her life, forms a specific language of juxtapositions, increasing the expressive power of multiple creative forms combined, and building upon their intent with a contemporary approach.

Farideh Lashai’s When I Count, There Are Only You… But When I Look, There Is Only a Shadow runs 30 May-10 September at Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain. For more information visit museodelprado.es

Harper’s Bazaar Art has collaborated with ArteVue. To download the app click here.