Victim/perpetrator, action/reaction, role models, patterns of behaviour, society, media, family, taboo—in his Portraits of Violence cycle, the American multi-media artist James Higginson examines forms of domestic violence, revealing a wide variety of aspects and components of the phenomenon of violence. The large-scale, colour saturated photographic stories “Portraits of Violence” investigate violence as an element of contemporary culture. They offer a brief narrative view, almost a freeze-frame, of the everyday dynamics of human interaction. Higginson deliberately and subversively employs beauty and style with aesthetics similar to Hollywood film, aiming to provoke the observer, to confront him or her with the topic of violence using artistic methods, and to break down customary ways of looking at an aspect of modern society which is rarely discussed in the open.
C/O Berlin is taking the opportunity provided by the current exhibition "Portraits of Violence" to initiate a discussion on the phenomenon of domestic violence. The extensive programme of events organised by C/O Berlin focuses on two central aspects of this phenomenon—firstly, how violence is examined in contemporary art, and secondly, how society and the media deal with the topic of domestic violence.