866 UN Plaza, NYC, Room W-7

March 5 - 11, 2019
Hours: 11am—7pm


“Why does a fine sketch please us more than a fine picture? It is because there is more life in it and fewer formal details.”

--Denis Diderot

Abstraction occurs in the grainy textures where chalky sanguine and haematite cross the cavernous valleys of a laid page. In the shivering moment when an exhausted hand ceases to play it steady and ruptures a smoothly shot image. Fragmentation allows invention and gives an image its immediacy.  This abstraction contains “more life in it;” casting a warm afterglow of authenticity onto the image. Old master drawings and facebook live streams respond to and communicate life. They are intended as documents but transform into spectacle, and over time into faded archives. Violent images suffer the same fate.

In Ideal Violence Zorawar Sidhu presents the faded archive of the violent within an imagined future institution. Whether the archive is the museum or the chaotic field of internet images, Sidhu asks what happens when an institution contains images of authentic violence, but presents them within a normalized framework. Fact is determined, mediated, and presented by authority. Ideal Violence considers the consequences of the aura of authority, beauty, and the normalization of violent images.  What does a beautiful image of violence mean for those who have directly experienced suffering?

The mirage of the institution is effective, however.  Its spectre appears convincingly in the guise of facebook feeds, newspapers, school teachers, textbooks, and museums.  The omnipotent implication of this authority can only be effectively combatted from within. Enclosing his work in an internal dialogue, Sidhu takes on the role of authority and simultaneously renders its emptiness.  As an Indian immigrant Zorawar Sidhu feels that he has had to take on imposed identities to navigate his role in American society. In this installation he performs the role of a museum guard, the marshal of museum space whose authority is often undermined or dismissed. Ultimately this show borrows the means of display (and thus the authoritative power) associated with major museums. Ideal Violence will encourage viewers to reconsider how unseen authorities, materiality, and violence dictate their experience of the real.

Zorawar Sidhu was born in Punjab, India and currently lives and works in New York. He received a BA in the History of Art from Johns Hopkins University, a BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and an MFA from Hunter College. He has exhibited projects with galleries and museums nationally, including solo exhibitions in the Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Museum of The Town of Vestal, NY.

As a painter in Jeff Koons’ workshop, Sidhu reproduced oil paintings by Masters of the western art historical canon, such as Rubens, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh. His work is project based and often incorporates imagery drawn from art historical sources. Every manifestation of his work is specific to each exhibition venue. Sidhu works in a variety of media, including painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, and installation.