“Art is the one place for us to go, for all this stuff to be shored up. The stuff of 9/11 is too big to carry in silence. It has to be summoned up and detoxified. To have the conversation after ten years, to reflect in new ways, might be to alleviate some of the anxiety in our collective subconscious.” - Al Braithwaite
A solo exhibition of photography, sculpture, and video by Al Braithwaite will be on view from August 24 through September 14, 2011 at Leila Heller Gallery. Twinned Towers will present a 10-year retrospective of work relating to one person’s attempt to comprehend the events of 9/11. The exhibition marks the artist’s first show in New York City. An opening reception will be held September 7, 6-8 p.m.
Al Braithwaite has traveled and worked in the last decade in the Middle East and New York City. He was in Baghdad to witness the reconstruction after the fall of Saddam Hussein, in London when the London Underground system was bombed, and while he was a resident of Fulton Street near Ground Zero, he was mistaken as a terrorist suspect and detained in Baltimore while taking pictures of Pennsylvania Station.
Twinned Towers includes more than 12 works using a juxtaposition of conflicting elements and materials to question the boundaries of geography, culture, and identity. Among the highlights are Capsule, 2011, which presents crumbled up pages from a copy of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Each ball of paper is nestled in a wooden grid of shelves with a curved architectural detail from the World Trade Center. Twinned Towers, 2003, which inspired the exhibition title, offers two Pepsi cans, one in English and one in Arabic, standing side by side and sewn together with string to represent a bridge between the English and Arabic speaking worlds and to call attention to our conjoined consumer societies. In Free Lunch, 2008, a bullet belt is perfectly fitted with pencils instead of bullets in a beautifully carved mahogany wall case.
Al Braithwaite (b. 1979, Rintein, W. Germany) currently lives and works in London. His work was seen most recently at Rose Issa Projects in London.