Che Guevara

 

Matthew Greenburgh: Che Guevara

 

 

Staghorn sumach - Rhus typhina

39x70cm - edition of 6 plus artist’s proof

The photograph opposite of Che Guevara’s dead body is the starting point for my picture. John Berger in his essay “Image of Imperialism” has compared it with paintings by Rembrandt and Mantegna (opposite) to show how the intended propaganda of the photograph is subverted.

Berger claims that “in certain rare cases the tragedy of a man’s death completes [...] the meaning of his whole life” and “..this photograph [...] is an image which, as much as any mute image ever can, calls for decision”. This decision, Berger argues, is to follow Guevara’s creed: “Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome, provided that this, our battle-cry may have reached some receptive ear and another hand may be extended to wield our weapons” in the revolutionary fight against imperialism.

Whatever one may think of his politics (not that Berger did die in the revolutionary cause), Berger's engagement with the connections between death as a choice, painting and photography is compelling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Leaf

che1

Untitled by anonymous photographer, 1967

 

che2

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1631

 

che3

Lamentation of Christ, Andrea Mantegna, c1480


Copyright Matthew Greenburgh © 2015. All Rights Reserved.