GUANTANAMO: IF THE LIGHT GOES OUT
“When you are suspended by a rope you can recover but every time I see a rope I remember.
If the light goes out unexpectedly in a room, I am back in my cell.”
Binyam Mohamed, Prisoner #1458
Flowers is pleased to present a selection of photographs from Edmund Clark’s Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out. Clark pairs his images with a collection of correspondence titled Letters to Omar and a multimedia installation. Together these visuals confront the assumptions and stereotypes about the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The exhibition will run from November 30th, 2012 through January 12th, 2013, with an opening reception for the artist on Thursday, November 29th, 6-8pm. An artist talk will also take place in the gallery on Saturday, December 1st at 4pm.
Edmund Clark is known for his work exploring incarceration through the use of photography, found imagery, and text. In Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out (2010), he examines three ideas of home: The naval base that is home to the American community at Guantanamo; the complex of camps where the detainees have been held, and the homes, new and old, where former detainees now find themselves trying to rebuild their lives. His disorientating narrative evokes the psychological aftereffects on these men.
Letters to Omar testifies to the scale of control exacted by the US military th rough the correspondence sent to one man, Omar Deghayes. Each piece of mail was scanned and copied with entire portions censored and redacted. Deghayes was never given the originals, but the documents, made complicit in the process of control over him, remain an extraordinary representation of the relationship between prisoner and captor.
Clark’s quiet and restrained style melds documentary and fine art imagery. His photographs are absent of people, speaking to the identities that have been stripped away. At Guantanamo he had to switch from his 5x4 inch film camera to mediumformat digital equipment, so that his photographs could be censored by security personnel at the end of each day. His meticulous imagery narrates the experience and contradictions of Guantanamo—where 167 prisoners are still held.
Edmund Clark was a finalist in this year’s Prix Pictet and was awarded the 2011 Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal.
Other awards include the 2009 British Journal of Photography International Award and several book awards for Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out, a 2008 Terry O’Neill/IPG Award for Contemporary British Photography for Still Life Killing Time (2007), and a Gold Pencil at the 2003 One Show Awards in New York. He was an Artist-in-Residence for the National Trust in England and his work is included in national and international collections including The National Portrait Gallery and ImpImperial War Museum in London, the George Eastman House Museum, Rochester, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.