The exhibition presents Empire, a visual essay by American artist John Gossage on the relationship between architecture and power. Gossage’s photographs of government buildings and monuments in Washington, D.C. are juxtaposed with images of Egypt taken by German chemist Hermann Vogel in 1868, exposing the parallel actions of governments, over a century apart, in preserving the past and laying claim to the future.
The temples and other emblematic structures of Egyptian civilisation photographed by Vogel at the request of the Prussian government inspired Gossage, leading him to reflect on the representation of the architecture of power in his home city, the capital of the United States. Gossage comments, “I photo-graphed the places that government uses to preserve its past and, by implication, lay claim to its current power; this is, of course, exactly what Dr. Vogel photographed when he was sent by the Kaiser to Egypt to bring back pictures of a great and ancient civilisation. Vogel’s technique was to go closer than had anyone before him (into the tombs by the light of magnesium flares or revolving mirrors) – whereas I was to push for greater distance.”
Curator: Louise Désy, CCA.