While visiting the Bertolt Brecht archives in Berlin, Broomberg & Chanarin discovered a remarkable artefact: Brecht's personal bible. The object caught their attention because it had a photograph of a racing car stuck to the cover. Inside the pages they discovered that the German playwright had used his bible as a notebook; pasting in images, underlining phrases and making notes in the columns. This was the inspiration for their own illustrated Holy Bible, which they realised first in book format (published by Mack, 2013) and now, on show at MOSTYN in its UK premiere, as a full-scale exhibition. For this project, the artists have combined images taken from The Archive of Modern Conflict - the largest archive in the world dedicated to images of war and conflict - with phrases in the text, which they have underlined in red ink.
A short essay by the Israeli philosopher Adi Ophir underpins the exhibition endeavour. In his writing, 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. With this exhibition, for the first time Broomberg & Chanarin make this parable powerfully explicit.
Exhibited alongside Divine Violence there will be two other significant works by Broomberg & Chanarin: Afterlife, a re-reading of a controversial, Pulitzer Prize-winning 1979 photograph, whose author was anonymous for the next 30 years; and The Day Nobody Died, a 2008 series of radically non-figurative, action-photographs produced when Broomberg & Chanarin were embedded with British Army units on the front line in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
The exhibition at MOSTYN is curated by Alfredo Cramerotti, Director, MOSTYN, and is produced in partnership with Artes Mundi.