Old Wars New Wars considers how an artist can engage intimately with the issue of war from any distance. The exhibition presents work that closes the distance between war production and cultural production by fusing familiar images or objects of war with moments in cultural and art history, a de-familiarisation that re-engages us with the complexities of our relationship to war. The work also raises questions on the relationship between violence, aesthetics and ethics in art production.
In Old Wars New Wars replica land mines are laid out on the floor in a grid painted in the colours of a 1957 Josef Albers 'Homage to the Square', a painting made around the time the land mines were first put to use. Alongside these a ’remix’ of found footage of explosions from the current war in Iraq and a sequence of watercolour paintings which represent the first seconds of an explosion.
Recipient of the Testbed commission supported by Leeds Met Gallery, Heidi Schaefer has spent the last 18 months creating a new body of work, and developed her practice through travel, networking and further training.