On Return and What Remains brings into focus the personal tolls endured by returning soldiers, their families and loved ones, as well as those impacted by the ravages of war. The exhibition assembles a selection of insightful, harrowing and confronting works that attempt to shine light on the enormous challenges and difficulties endured by those who have served duty on the frontlines of global conflicts.
Coinciding with the current withdrawal of Australian and allied forces from Afghanistan, as well as marking the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, the position of this project evades contention around the legitimacy of particular wars and debates regarding international intervention in them. Instead, On Return and What Remains focuses on narratives lensed through the individual, the sacrifices made and predicaments faced as military personnel return home and attempt to integrate back into civilian life, a life rendered unfamiliar and potentially hostile to them. Although largely focused on the perspective of individual troops, the project also envelops those whose lives are irrevocably altered by such conflicts from a range of perspectives, from those who have been forced to flee their homeland to the families and loved ones who attempt to support emotionally, physically and psychologically damaged returnees.
On Return and What Remains focuses not on the atrocities of war but what emerges in its aftermath from the perspective of those implicated from afar. The exhibition will be presented across all of the galleries that Artspace occupies within The Gunnery, a building that was commandeered by the Australian Navy during the Second World War, and a site that continues to bear witness to the active navy presence located opposite.
TEXT from Artspace: http://artspace.org.au/gallery_project.php?i=193
On Return and What Remains
Khadim Ali, Bonita Ely, Harun Farocki, Omer Fast, Richard Mosse, Baden Pailthorpe
Curated by Mark Feary
21 August - 12 October 2014
Interview: Nick Garner