A Pile of Stones, Street Scene, Syria, 2016
Oil on canvas
Clive van den Berg has been working on a series of works in sculpture, paintings and video, which take as their starting point the images of gay men murdered by ISIS. These killings took place in 2014 and 2015. ISIS made images of the killings public, in part as a demonstration of their enforcement of sharia law and in part as an essential component of their campaign to dehumanise people who love in defiance of prejudice.
Van den Berg views the dissemination of these images is an act of calculated aggression, which re-inscribes the dread that survives the gains of protective legislation. He suggests that for those who harbor prejudice the images are encouragement, and indeed for some they may serve as recruiting bait.
Van den Berg’s immediate impulse is to make good these killings. Although that is, of course impossible, what his works do is accord these deaths a caring eye, his own initially and then those of viewers who see the works. He explains that “viewing is the praxis of empathy, the inversion of what ISIS intended.”
Although unique in subject the works are part of an ongoing series, collectively titled "Men Loving", which critically explores love between men in situations of censure.
150.0 x 200.0 (cm)
59.1 x 78.7 (inch)