‘The Situation Room’ (2012-14)
‘The Situation Room’ (2012-14)

On May 1 2011, the White House photographer Pete Souza released a picture of President Obama and his national security team watching a live feed of the Navy Seal raid on Osama bin Laden. That photograph, taken on the day bin Laden was killed by American forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, went viral, and now, four years later, has been rendered by New York-based artist Will Ryman as a life-size sculpture made from crushed black coal.

Ryman spent three years making the sculpture and has said that he drained “the nationalism and romance and Shakespearean feel” from what he felt was a strategically released photograph, leaving just the shapes and postures. The result, “The Situation Room”, pictured above, is one of two installations on show at Two Rooms, Ryman’s new solo exhibition in New York.

The other installation in the exhibition, “Classroom”, consists of 12 figures made from materials as various as salt and gold, which have been arranged in four rows to resemble a classroom, a factory assembly line and soldiers in military formation.

‘Two Rooms’ by Will Ryman, to October 17, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, paulkasmingallery.com

Photograph: Will Ryman

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