Artist's notes

 

Waking and Sleeping - Times of War and Death was published in 2014 and includes texts by the artist with full colour reproductions of 148 paintings. The illustrations each have one page of accompanying notes. Their emphasis falls on ideas and issues that form key connections to each painting and help contextualise each work, or establish related lines of enquiry through the use of quotes, references, comments and observations. 

 

War is about spilling over the edge and seeping into all things. Yet it has everything to do with you and me. It can challenge our capacity to create meaning, and compel us to embrace new ideas...

 

Two things that were traditionally distinct—war and peace—are now much less so. As war becomes more about gaining control over populations through fear and terror, the boundaries between soldiering and policing, civilian and military worlds, and state and media announcement on war are becoming blurred.

 

War is no longer just associated with extraordinary conflict; it has become a constitutive dimension of contemporary life no matter how far away it is. How this changing notion of war as a force may provide shifts in meaning is not clear, and may only emerge as time passes.

Militarisation of society during the twentieth century has continued its growth into the twenty-first century, reshaping almost every element of our social life in the way it organises itself for the preparation and production of violence and has been accompanied by major changes in the preparations for war and the kind of wars that will be fought in the future. There are a growing number of epicentres of extraordinary violence and conflicts in which the presence of state armies, private security forces, mercenary outfits, armies of regional warlords and criminal networks are involved in armed conflicts driven by ethnic competition over state power and the global competition for resources.

An imaginairy archaeology

The 148 paintings by Albedo Marz explore the modern condition through a kind of imaginary archaeology of an era in which people can no longer map themselves within the scheme of history. It is as if one is excavating some archaeological site of the future, field work for psychopathologists as much as anthropologists, reconstructing the madness, mores and practices of a fallen civilisation.

 

The paintings address the themes of war and death from the perspective of a non-combatant. They are conceived as a coherent group of monochrome, black, white and grey works. Each painting has one additional colour: red, blue or yellow which forms the basis of three thematic areas of inquiry.

Red paintings

 

Red addresses blank threat and the distinctive visceral anxieties ever more present in our experience of the everyday world of mass society. The red paintings refer to the objectless fears and vulnerabilities that erode the normal framework of our lives—a pathology that is both social and psychological.

 

Blue paintings

Blue is without dimensions. It can convey the unique appearance of distance however close at hand and is used to signal the distancing of alienatory processes. YouTube videos, television, press reportage and the entire panoply of phantasmagorical effects that aestheticise the violence of modernity can curiously end up distancing non-combatants from the existing catastrophe of war, in which we are all already implicated.

 

Yellow paintings

Yellow represents an ecstasy that is at once unsupportable and joyless. The yellow paintings are out of joint encounters, a rift or disjunction, an indecipherable unknown that makes us anxious or something that induces immense elation and exhilaration for some, yet diabolic misery for others.