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Peter Kennard: UNWORDS – Scraps from a Reading Room

28 Sep – 2 Nov 1996

Peter Kennard, one of the most important political artists working today, looks at events in 1995 through the words of the United Nations and the financial pages of newspapers. UNWORDS questions whether the barbarism of the global system can be addressed through the words of the UN, words which in themselves aspire to democracy and freedom. The words and numbers of the financial pages aspire to a very different kind of freedom, that of the market.

Kennard demonstrates that it is this which determines the function of the UN and it is this that the UN is bound to protect. In the face of price indexes and market reports words become UNWORDS and the protective language of the UN becomes no more than empty rhetoric masking the reality of the economic and financial imperatives of the market place.

As the struggle for human rights becomes buried by the share prices, the politicians do not even appear on these pages, their absence symbolising their collusion with the multinationals and the international banking system. In the final section of UNWORDS, hands, though damaged and submerged under layers of print, continue to claw, tear and rip at the pages