Visiting Palazzo Massimo museum in Rome a couple of years ago I came across a large wall full of fresco’s and mortared niches - a typical funerary arrangement of the Ancient Romans. These frescos showed some dreamy scenes and paradise-like figures hanging around - fishing, playing and dancing - all playful and peaceful. However they reminded me of the nightly tv reporting with scenes of battles in various dusty Middle-eastern deserts, people walking in long lines escaping to nowhere, children running from the burning houses, bodies on the streets… paradoxically I saw war and suffering visually blurring with Elysium.
From this likeness the idea of the ‘Columbarium‘ came about - drawings of war and peace made on the newspaper sheets surround the burial niches are arranged on 8 panels which together form an octagonal tower. For me, this is a kind of memorial that we will leave behind for the coming generations to see, our ‘afterlife’ message.
Accompanying are 6 large format ‘books’ drawn directly onto glossy magazines. While making these visual ‘diaries’ everything on the page got a different meaning for me - the slogans, the adds, the photos of the consumer goods have blended with images of refugees and executions. It was a painful period - never before I got myself involved in the topic of suffering and injustice so directly.
24 prints on newspapers in carborundum technique in black and white finalized this project.
Anywhere, anytime is a warning - none of us is too far removed from the suffering of war a misplacement, we can an should not ignore it and not treat it as an entertaining news item.