SACRED | Profane

Gallery 263

Although many wars throughout history have been fought in the name of the divine, the act of killing fundamentally contradicts the core beliefs of the world’s great religions. Does the sacrifice of life for a higher principle or the greater good make these killings and deaths any less profane?

The two works juxtaposed from each other address this fundamental question. Made by two artists born on opposite sides of the world and working 50 years apart, they reverberate with a single voice, asking us to reflect on the ultimate torment and sacrifice of battle. Henry Moore’s Warrior with Shield (1953) reverberates with the agony of a soldier’s brutalized body, yet just as forcefully shows his valor and persistence in fighting to the end. Do Ho Suh’s Some/One (2005) appears grand and invincible, yet upon closer inspection is revealed to be an elaborate composition of many hundreds of military dog-tags. Each of the tags identifies the body of a soldier; each is also a reminder of the person lost in war.

— Elizabeth Armstrong, curator of contemporary art and director of the Center for Alternative Museum Practice (CAMP) with David Francis, intern, CAMP