Rachel Khedoori 10.08.09
AUTHOR: MICOL HEBRON 09.11.09-10.24.09 The Box
In Rachel Khedoori’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, the iconic installation Iraq Book Project (all works 2009) explores what we know and record about the Iraq war, which is now in its seventh year and counting. Sixty-six massive books are laid open on nine long wooden tables. The tomes contain a chronological compilation of English-language international news articles, found by Khedoori on the Internet, that include the word Iraq, Iraqi, or Baghdad in their titles. The articles date from the war’s inception in March 2003 through the end of 2008. But as combat continues, the gallery functions as a research lab where assistants compile articles to be added to the annals for the duration of the exhibition.
Visually arresting and conceptually impressive, the neatly ordered books are poetic analogues for the weight and burden of information, as well as the impossibility of recording and accessing all necessary data, about the war, and for the act of acknowledging a course of events by committing it to print. Khedoori poignantly highlights the challenge of documenting an event that is interminable and undefined.
In the basement of the gallery, viewers find Khedoori’s sculpture cave model. Like Iraq Book Project, this work is a structural metaphor for an amorphous entity that cannot be visually perceived in its entirety. The model is a manifestation of an underground dwelling comprising a tangle of plaster half-pipes that twist, turn, and overlap. This rhizomatous form alludes to neural networks, intestines, and, in the context of this show, the caves in which we imagine evildoers to reside.