Michael Rakowitz, Hardback Book

Description

Published for a major touring exhibition, this substantial catalogue documents a brand new commission and six major works from the career of Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz, known for his 2018 sculpture for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Sculptor, detective, stone carver and sometime chef, Michael Rakowitz (b.1973) takes his cue from the histories of buildings and objects, creating enthralling environments informed by the aspirations of utopian architecture and the disasters of modernity.

Drawing on locations ranging from his hometown of Chicago to the Bamiyan province of Afghanistan, he is a consummate storyteller, revealing what built structures and artefacts tell us about suppressed histories while retrieving lost cultures through Middle Eastern cooking, wry humour and community building. Works documented here include The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist (2007), an intricate narrative of sculptures and drawings about artefacts stolen from the National Musuem of Iraq in Baghdad, in the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion - the largest of which, a gigantic elephant which once guarded the gates of Nineveh, has been recreated for Trafalgar Square's current Fourth Plinth; White Man Got No Dreaming (2008) which documents a vision to rebuild Tatlin's Tower in Sydney's contested Aboriginal neighbourhood The Block, aligning two different cultures with their shared view of time and progress; and The Breakup (2010), an ode to the rise and fall of The Beatles, inspired by their last concert in Jerusalem and presenting a clear allegory for the fragmentation of Middle Eastern culture and relations. The fully illustrated catalogue will feature a new interview with the artist as well as writing on each work with voices from the Middle East, Australia, Europe and America.

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