Dusseldorf - Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin: Poor Monuments

9 November 2011 - 4 February 2012

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Poor Monuments 2011 (Installation Image)

Private View: Thursday 9 November 2011, 7.00 - 10.00 pm



Paradise Row, Dusseldorf presents Poor Monuments, a new body of work by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin.

Poor Monuments
, a series of 85 works on paper, is a contemporary re-working of The War Primer, a book published in 1955 by Bertolt Brecht.

The War Primer comprises of images clipped from newspapers, each accompanied by a four-line poem composed by Brecht. The title of the book deliberately recalls the textbooks used to teach elementary school children how to read; The War Primer is a practical manual into how to 'read' photographs.

For each of the 85 images that Brecht originally chose, Broomberg and Chanarin have found an equivalent image from our present age. Whereas Brecht's The War Primer was concerned with images of the Second World War, Broomberg and Chanarin are concerned with the so called "War on Terror".


"Don't start with the good old things but the bad new ones" Brecht famously said. In this spirit Broomberg and Chanarin have gathered their material from the internet - compressed, uploaded, ripped, squeezed, reformatted and re-edited often anonymous images - rather than sifting through newspapers with a pair of scissors.


However rather than literally juxtapose the contemporary with the historical image, Broomberg and Chanarin have silkscreened an opaque red rectangle representing the contemporary image onto original pages from disassembled copies of The War Primer. Whilst the selected image is not pictured, the title of each individual work describes the source image and supplies a web address at which it can be found.

This formal device serves to frustrate the instant, spectacular impact that images of war typically have in our contemporary visual culture. It also highlights the web of economic relations that surround the production and distribution of images in our time.

In the interrogative spirit of Brecht, Poor Monuments both questions what has remained the same and what has changed, in terms of the production, distribution and consumption of images of war.

Made in collaboration with The Brecht Archive in Berlin, the work is presented as a series of framed, wall hung, works.



Paradise Row - Dusseldorf

Eiskellerberg 1

Gegenuber der Kunstakademie

D-40213 Dusseldorf

Tel: +49 211 6 02 99 00



Felix Ringel

Tel: +49 172 213 88 89



Paradise Row - London

Tel: +44 (0) 207 636 9355