Piers Secunda

ISIS Bullet Hole Painting (Assyrian Archer), Triptych, 2018

Industrial floor paint

35 x 199 x 4cm 

The work ISIS Bullet Hole Painting (Assyrian Archer) is a three-part (triptych) painting, made with industrial floor paint. The work serves as a metaphor for the systematic destruction of culture at the hands of Daesh (ISIS). The damaged textures on the surface of the second and third panels were moulded in 2015, with the guidance and protection of the Kurdish Peshmerga in the villages of Tel Arabaa and Abu Hamed. At the time, these villages had been recently liberated and were on the front line in the fight to remove ISIS from Iraq. The Peshmerga were able to confirm the extent of damage caused by ISIS. It was from these sites that Piers made moulds of the bullet damage which are now superimposed on the Triptych.

Artist’s biography

Piers Secunda was born in London in 1976 and studied painting at the Chelsea College of Art in London, graduating in 1998. Since leaving art college, Piers has been actively developing a studio practice using paint in a sculptural manner, rejecting what he refers to as the “standard format of painting” (the application of paint to a canvas) due to the limitations it imposes on the form.

At the end of 2009, whilst on a residency course in China, Piers managed to persuade the Chinese army (PLA) to shoot sheets of cured paint on a military base near Shanghai. The aim was to capture and incorporate ‘geopolitical texture’ into the works. The resulting flower-like bullet holes became a turning point in Piers’ practice. 

With the aim of turning up the intensity of this new series of ‘shot’ works to the fullest, and to capture potent geopolitics and specifically the destruction of culture, Piers travelled to Afghanistan in 2010 to make moulds of Taliban bullet holes. 

In 2018 the Iraqi Minister of Culture invited Piers to visit the Mosul Museum and Nineveh, to make moulds from the sculptures smashed by ISIS during their occupation of the city from 2014 to 2017.

Piers has exhibited internationally for many years. His recent exhibitions include Piers Secunda: ISIS Bullet Hole Paintings, University of Houston Art Gallery, 2019, What Remains, Imperial War Museum, London, 2018 and ISIS Damage Paintings, Private Residence of the Iraq Ambassador to the UK, London, 2018-2019.