Forma

War Primer 2

War Primer 2 was a live performance evolved from the Broomberg and Chanarin's Deutsche Börse Prize shortlisted work of the same name, an artists’ book that physically inhabits the pages of Bertolt Brecht's remarkable 1955 publication, War Primer.

The original War Primer is a collection of Brecht's newspaper clippings about the Second World War, each accompanied by a four-line poem that he called Photo-epigrams. Brecht was profoundly uneasy about the affirmative role played by the medium of photography within the political economy of capitalism and referred to press photographs as hieroglyphics in need of decoding.


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War Primer 2

Broomberg & Chanarin
2013

War Primer 2 was a live performance evolved from the Broomberg and Chanarin's Deutsche Börse Prize shortlisted work of the same name, an artists’ book that physically inhabits the pages of Bertolt Brecht's remarkable 1955 publication, War Primer.

The original War Primer is a collection of Brecht's newspaper clippings about the Second World War, each accompanied by a four-line poem that he called Photo-epigrams. Brecht was profoundly uneasy about the affirmative role played by the medium of photography within the political economy of capitalism and referred to press photographs as hieroglyphics in need of decoding.

  • Premiered

    The Photographer's Gallery, London, UK

  • Credits

    War Primer 2 was developed by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin in 2013. Performance produced by Forma, presented in partnership with The Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK.

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Broomberg & Chanarin, War Primer 2, 2013 (still)

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Performance of Broomberg & Chanarin's War Primer 2, The Photographer's Gallery, London, 2013

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Performance of Broomberg & Chanarin's War Primer 2, The Photographer's Gallery, London, 2013

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Fifteen of the Photo-epigrams were set to music as choral pieces by Hanns Eisler during the period that he and Brecht were in exile in the USA, with a view to developing a new opera from the 85 poems. The opera was never completed. Broomberg and Chanarin’s work combined Eisler’s existing compositions with video imagery, gleaned from the internet of the ‘War on Terror’ that relates directly to the images in War Primer 2. The artists’ ultimate aim is to complete the unfinished opera through collaboration with a contemporary composer.

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin are artists living and working in between London and Berlin. They are fascinated by power, its tools and mechanisms and their artistic practice frequently leads them to directly engage with existing power relations within the production and use of images. They are professors of photography at the Hoschule für bildende Künste (HFBK), Hamburg, Germany and recent exhibitions include Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (2018); Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, Sweden (2017); C/O Berlin, Berlin, Germany (2016); the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD, USA (2016); and the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland; The Freud Museum, London, UK; ICA Studio, London, UK (all 2015). Broomberg & Chanarin are represented by Lisson Gallery, London, UK and Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Background image: Broomberg & Chanarin, War Primer 2, 2013 (still)