On the occasion of the second anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attacks on the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. and following the release of the House Select Committee’s final report on the events of that historic day, Petzel is pleased to announce a new print by artists Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston.
Measuring 52” x 80” in size and printed on a fabric that is stretched, this new print is titled January 7 and is made from 28 recarved blocks from Sidhu and Swainston’s Doomscrolling series, first shown at Petzel’s Upper East Side location in January 2021. From up close, viewers can see details from the most political Doomscrolling prints such as December 12, November 19, October 7, August 25, June 1, 6:30 PM, June 1 7:30 PM, and January 6. By recarving the woodblocks from Doomscrolling, remnants of the images previously carved into the blocks are visible in January 7. This reminds us that the violent political extremism from 2020-2021 is still with us in the present.
The print depicts the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol building, Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony during the congressional hearings, and newspaper headlines from January 7, 2021. The montage of these images, along with the images already present on the blocks from Doomscrolling, combine to make a complex scene that reflects the unresolved history of January 6. The title—January 7—suggests that we still collectively live in the aftermath of January 6, an event that still dominates the American political landscape.
“The events of January 6 are still unresolved, as demonstrated by the congressional hearings. As we listened to the final hearing on the radio, we finished the final layers of “January 7,” say the artists. “We chose to depict Cassidy Hutchinson because her calm testimony is a counterpoint to the chaos of the crowd at the Capitol building. As a symbol of the congressional hearings, she represents our collective effort to find accountability and closure.”
In conjunction with January 7, Petzel presents Doomscrolling, a series of woodblock prints by the artists Zorawar Sidhu and Rob Swainston. Doomscrolling, a relatively recent activity induced by disturbing, perhaps mind-bending, current events, is “the act of spending an excessive amount of screen time devoted to the absorption of negative news. Increased consumption of predominately negative news may result in harmful psychophysiological responses.” This exhibition takes its title and inspiration from this newly diagnosed and addictive compulsion.
At the start of the pandemic “I went out every morning on my bike and was photographing Manhattan, but it was empty,” says Swainston, who, like most of us, was experiencing all the hope, anxiety, and fear about everything that was happening in 2020. “We were just like everyone else, obsessed by consuming images of it. All of a sudden, plywood went up on buildings around the city and then I realized the potential of it: Letting something that happened in 2020 be carved onto the plywood used to cover up Manhattan.” Swainston and Sidhu collected approximately 120 sheets of plywood. “We are depicting events that are dirty and messy. Having the plywood distressed is a part of the story.
Doomscrolling is comprised of 18 moments between May 24th, 2020 and January 6th, 2021, the day of the insurrection at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. These dates are tied to iconic images and specific events: The May 24th New York Times cover “U.S. DEATHS NEAR 100,000, AN INCALCULABLE LOSS”; the next day George Floyd is murdered; the day after that the protests begin; Kyle Rittenhouse shoots three people during the protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin; Donald Trump holds the bible upside down after the D.C. Park Police teargas a group of peaceful protesters; the militarized police vehicles; the protestors with their hands up.