Tracy Mackenna & Edwin Janssen are interested in the relationship between conflict, looking and art. In War as Ever!, through visual reflection on images of war and violence they investigated the relationship between seventeenth century visual representations and the contemporary role of the media in the representation of war and violence.
War is of all times, so war is now. By making us aware of war and its consequences, and by undermining representations of war, can artists play a role in preventing and ending wars? How can artists make works that relate to war in productive ways? How can the museums and archives that conserve and interpret our memories of war develop their role to mediate for art?
The Van Kittensteyn album, a collection of more than 500 prints and drawings dating from 1613 whose subject is the Eighty Years’ Dutch-Spanish War of 1568–1648, served as a starting point. The album, currently part in the collection of the Atlas van Stolk (Museum Rotterdam), was compiled by Willem Luytsz van Kittensteyn of Delft and portrays in bloody reportage the lengthy series of battles; sieges, executions and plundering that dominated the Dutch war of independence against the Spanish.
The slide projection WAR AS EVER!: Eighty Years and One Day, also shown at Onomatopee, is made up of a selection of prints from the Van Kittensteyn album and newspaper excerpts reporting the Iraq war on April 1st 2003, the day Tracy and Edwin’s daughter was born. The full exhibition project as shown at the Nederlands Fotomuseum consisted of a double screen slide projection, performative actions, text posters, photographs, educational activities and a conference. The posters included here and designed by the artists, show a series of quotes from Susan Sontag’s book ‘Regarding the Pain of Others’.