Phaidon: Piers Secunda’s art attack

Piers Secunda’s Taliban Relief Paintings were featured in Phaidon in November 2011.

We know you’ll correct us if we’ve wrong but we think Piers Secunda’s Taliban Relief Paintings are the most directly inspired pieces of art we’ve seen on the subject of the Afghan conflict. The paintings feature casts of actual bullet holes shot by the Taliban and damage caused as a result of suicide bombings in the war torn country.

Secunda travelled to the Afghan capital, Kabul, at the end of last year. Two suicide bomb attacks were located in advance and existing bullet holes were confirmed on site by witnesses and the Kabul police to be Taliban related.

The first site was the scene of an attack on a private security firm in a residential area of Kabul in which two drivers were fatally shot.

The bullet holes in Secunda’s work were cast from the pockmarked walls around the car. The casts were then integrated into a series of wall-mounted paint ‘relief’ sculptures, their hanging devices also created using industrial floor paint.

“I wanted to make a physical record of the Taliban’s activities, said Secunda, I knew that the wrk would be compelling if the holes were specifically Taliban and not security forces or Nato. Bringing them back to England and putting them in a gallery space and being able to look at them and see the texture of them was a compelling idea for me”.