Divine Violence – images of conflict and the bible

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanrin’s latest work Divine Violence has been directly inspired by the annotated personal Bible of Bertolt Brecht.

Divine Violence

Divine Violence explores the visual representation of conflict and draws its content from publisher the Archive of Modern Conflict.

It is based on their work Holy Bible, a book published last year which saw them add annotations and images to a Bible.

Divine Violence

Broomberg and Chanrin discovered Brecht’s Bible when visiting the Bertolt Brecht archives in Berlin.

A photograph of a racing car was stuck to the cover and inside Brecht had underlined sections, pasted in images and generally used it as a notebook.

Divine Violence

Taking this principal as inspiration for both Holy Bible and Divine Violence has undoubtedly proved controversial.

While some might see the work as needlessly desecrating a religious text and using it as an inflammatory beacon of controversy to propagate a message about the visual representation of conflict, the artists – who have added images of conflict to a bible, and underlined passages in red – claim to have made a powerful observation.

Divine Violence

This is outlined in an essay by Israeli philosopher Adi Ophir that accompanies the exhibition.

Ophir observes that God reveals himself in the Bible predominantly through acts of catastrophe, and considers the Biblical text as a parable for the growth of modern governance.

Divine Violence

Two accompanying pieces will be shown with Divine Violence. Afterlife, a ‘re-reading’ of a Pulitzer Prize-winning 1979 photograph, whose author was anonymous for the next 30 years, and The Day Nobody Died, a 2008 series of non-figurative, action-photographs produced when Broomberg & Chanarin were embedded within British Army units on the front line in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

Divine Violence

Divine Violence runs from 19 July – 2 November at Mostyn, 12 Vaughan Street, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 1A

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