Grace of Intention: Photography, Architecture and the Monument

Nadav Kander, Priozersk XIV (I Was Told She Once Held An Oar), Kazakhstan, 2011

About the Exhibition

Geert GoirisIman IssaFlorian JoyeNadav Kander
Jan KempenaersBasim MagdyNicolas MoulinAna Vaz

Monuments are deliberate gestures—objects or structures created to commemorate an event, person or era. Their meaning is usually  imposed, and they often serve as focal points for aspirational civic and political attributes like valor and sacrifice, or to underscore a foundational political narrative. But their meaning can transform, changing over time as the relevance of their symbolism ebbs and flows due to social and political shifts.  Like monuments, architecture and photography are also inflected with a grace of intention, and both have the ability to commemorate or represent a nation, event, time or place. The act of photographing monuments and buildings transforms them, sometimes revealing some of the original qualities and more closely evoking the response that they were originally intended to have. And photographs have an inherent memorial quality. This group exhibition examines the work of international artists, some of whose work addresses actual monuments, some whom look at architecture and its relationship to memory and how its importance and symbolism can shift over time, and others approach the idea of the future monument.  

This exhibition is generously supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

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The 2015-2016 season is sponsored by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the lllinois Arts Council Agency and the Abramson Arts Foundation.


A special thank you to Kai Caemmerer and John Lusis, graduate students at Columbia College Chicago, who served as assistant curators on this project.