The Imperial War Museum
London brings you Memory Remains, a bold new photographic exhibition by artist Francesc Torres to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, featuring over 150 projected images displayed alongside the first section of raw rusted steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center on display in the UK. The piece, over two metres in length is comprised of beams from the external walls of the building, and is thought to be the box section from one of the windows.
Following the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the recovery effort began and the 16-acre site underwent the careful and lengthy process of being cleared. A small group of architects and curators slowly began to fill the empty shell of Hangar 17 at John F Kennedy International Airport with debris and material cleared from the site, transforming it into a storehouse of memories.
Spanish-American artist Francesc Torres, commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, was granted access to explore inside the hangar and produced an extensive series of photographs reflecting on the emotional power of what remained after 9/11. With a lifelong interest in questions of human memory and meaning, Torres work centres on the concept that it is through the remains of history that memory remains. These images will be on display for the first time at the Imperial War Museum London offering visitors a glimpse into a hidden world.
Francesc Torres, says: Having watched the graphic destruction from my apartment, only two blocks from the Twin Towers, when I entered Hangar 17 at JFK International Airport for the first time in 2006, I was immediately hit by the deep sense that the objects I was confronted with, from large shards of rusted and burnt steel to bikes left forever by their owners, were the symbolic substitutes of the victims. Their overwhelming presence stood for all the people that lost their lives that late summer day a decade ago.
Diane Lees, DirectorGeneral of the Imperial War Museum, says: The 9/11 terrorist attacks were a turning point in understanding the power and force of contemporary terrorist activity. They changed British and US perceptions of their role in the world and influenced the subsequent foreign policy of both countries, creating an environment of heightened security. US and British military action in Afghanistan began in this climate and continues today. This display will enable our visitors to reflect on the 9/11 attacks and their human cost, as well as the wider impact of modern conflict on peoples lives.
9/11 Memorial Museum Director Alice Greenwald says: Francesc Torres spent five weeks at Hangar 17 in 2009, daily confronting the legacy of terror and the ghosts of ground zero. In photographs of exceptional sensitivity and insight, he has captured both the monumental scale of loss in the wake of the terror attacks and the excruciating intimacy of personal effects that remain as testaments to those unwittingly caught in the maelstrom of destruction. Through Torres eyes, we can see the potential for resilience, and the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.