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"Shades of Absence"
 by Tamiko Thiel


A meditation on absent artworks and artists

In these Pavilions of Absence images of contemporary artists whose works have been censored in this century are reduced to gold silhouettes and placed in the midst of terms of transgression. Each erased silhouette stands for countless unknown or lesser known artists who face censorship or persecution with no public support.

Touching the artist silhouettes brings the viewer a website with information on censored artists, and instructions on how viewers can add new names and information via the web or Facebook.

Censorship of art and artists happens in all nations in many forms and for many reasons. Especially works in public places can be censored for unclear or unspoken reasons, and the Venice Biennial has had its share of cases. Some artists may deliberately seek provocation, but others are stunned that their work is seen as controversial.

At a time when famous artworks are being destroyed and famous artists arrested, we need to be aware that most artists who are censored do not enjoy world-wide visibility and support.