History is against forgiveness

Marie-Jo Lafontaine


Installation, 160 x 391 x 6 cm.
Materials: wood, glass, photo, oil

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK6908_M154).

Two images emerge against a red monochrome background. A photograph of a raging fire flanks a street scene where some sort of battle has taken place. Cars with blown-out windows and an army truck stand in a near-empty street. Where and when this happened remains unclear. Nor does the title, History is against Forgiveness, refer to a specific concrete event. The combination of the title with primal symbols such as fire (danger, devastation, purgation) and the color red (blood, peril, passion) along with the image of the shot-up street indeed evokes all kinds of associations. Without pointing to a single specific event, the work raises the spectre of the seemingly hopeless struggles taking place at so many spots around the world. Ireland, the Jews and Palestinians in Israel, the ethnic conflicts in Africa… stories where forgiveness has been in desperately short supply. Neither the images nor the title of the work are unambiguous. Without explicitly passing judgment, here Marie-Jo Lafontaine sets the visitor to thinking. With the dramatic confrontation of the charged photographs and the title, the artist manipulates the way we look at a photograph. By including these photographs within a monumental composition, she confers them with a new status and significance. It is no longer about reproducible, workaday images but unique photographic works.

Events View all

Ensembles View all

Actors View all