Photographer Explores the Aftermath of Rape in Powerful New Exhibition

Photographer Elisa Iannacone presents ​The Spiral of Containment: Rape’s Aftermath​, an exhibition that harnesses the power of images to change the way we see. The exhibit will take place at London’s iconic OXO Tower from ​8th March (International Women’s Day) – 11th March 2018​.

The exhibit will immerse visitors in a series of artworks that explore the impact of sexual assault, with the aim of reframing the dialogue around sexual violence to facilitate understanding.

Upon entering the industrial five-story warehouse building, guests encounter an installation and soundscape, where they are forced to walk over a path of flowers, and see some of the portraits of the stories they are about to encounter, drawing them inwards. The exhibition houses twenty-four main photographs and a hologram, shot across 3 continents, that artistically interpret sexual assault survivors’ personal accounts of the images that stuck in their minds after the incident. The highly imaginative images are staged with prop-heavy sets that evoke narrative elements, conjuring childlike dreamscapes and dark fantasy worlds. Each image is anchored in a distinctive colour hue, and the exhibit is curated in accordance with a 24-colour wheel. The resultant impression is of a spiralling effect: a symbol for the personal process of coping with assault.

Iannacone, who herself makes an appearance in the series, was inspired to create the exhibit through her own experience of coping with trauma through art therapy. She recognises that distressing photojournalistic images of sexual violence often have the adverse effect of turning people away. By creating work that is not simply representational, she intends to provide viewers with an affective understanding of the lived experience of sexual assault survivors, and to engender an empathic public response.

The conversation sparked by the Women’s March and “Me Too” moment of reckoning is an important step forward, and yet there are still 11 sexual assaults every hour (254 per day) in the UK. ​The Spiral of Containment: Rape’s Aftermath ​will provide a platform for deepened engagement with the topic of sexual violence, calling upon its audience to look, interpret and think closely. The museum-scale exhibition will be accompanied by a series of live events and a limited-edition book publication.

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