Tom Molloy operates at a distance from America, in rural Co. Clare, but his work focuses on American emblems and the American hegemony on the imagination, as well as on the economic and political landscape. He takes familiar images of the war from news photographs and even the official White House website. Replicating the infamous silhouette of the Iraqi prisoner from Abu Ghraib - hooded, wired, standing on a box - as an ephemeral circle of paper dolls or a camouflage pattern on a bolt of fabric, the artist creates charged objects in which a delicate materiality and a grim icon coalesce into something quietly intense and discomfiting. The Universal Delaration of Human Rights (adopted by the UN in 1948 and including a provision against torture), translated into Arabic and cut into sheets of paper, becomes a potent sign because of its specific indecipherability to us and because of our knowledge of its violation on all sides. Molloy considers the power of the war’s most recognizable images and the hold they exert upon the realm of the symbolic.
Image: Tom Molloy, Raw Material, 2005
Silk screen on cotton - 180cm x 20m
Courtesy Rubicon Gallery, Dublin