26 April 2014

Portraits of Justice, Alfredo Jaar's permanent installation at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Portraits of Justice is a new permanent installation by Alfredo Jaar at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Commissioned for the Lynn and Jules Kroll Atrium of the new building designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the project was coordinated by independent curator Jennifer McGregor.
Alfredo Jaar, Portraits of Justice, 2013. Mixed-media installation. Courtesy the artist, New York. Photography: Rudolf Costin.

Jaar's new installation Portraits of Justice welcomes students, staff, faculty, and visitors entering the college with an elegant wall of pristine mirrors and aluminum panels. In midst of the reflections of the atrium's buzzing life, the seemingly minimal installation offers the college community a gaze into itself. The work's real complexity however unfolds as the mirrors light up every few minutes with faces of John Jay students, intermittently appearing and disappearing in various areas throughout the installation. 

At random intervals, some of the students speak out the word "justice" and, three times a day every day, the entire installation comes to life as it completely fills up with students whispering, shouting, imposing, or calling for "justice" in unison. The layering of reflections and the gradual unraveling of the complexity of the work reflects the difficulty and intricacy of a field like criminal justice, as well as the rigor and discipline that it requires. Mirrors, an age-old symbol of transparency and scrutiny, also suggest that all justice begins by looking at oneself.

About the artwork: Alfredo Jaar. Portraits of Justice, 2013. Installation with twenty LCD monitors, aluminum panels, TV mirror glass panels, and videos. Software design by Jerzy Klebieko. Cinematography by Rudolf Costin

Words via e-flux.

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