After the Fact

Re-enactments of a carte de visite supposedly taken at the execution of the Emperor Maximilian in Mexico, in 1867


  • The Execution of Mejia, Miramon and Maximilian by Three Firing Squads. Carte de Visite by Aubert, 1867

  • LAKE MICHIGAN EXECUTION 30/12/00 3.30pm. Temperature: -15ºC. Strong, northerly wind, overcast

  • TATE EXECUTIONS 25/04/02 - One of six re-enactments at Tate Britain.

  • PHILADELPHIA EXECUTION 10/24/06 2.15pm Temperature 78ºF. Thunderstorms expected.

  • Execution of Maximilian - Unknown Artist (Mexican) 19th C. Oil on Canvas Philadelphia Museum of Art - The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection

  • In 2002 I travelled to Mexico where I commissioned six artisan painters to paint copies of TATE EXECUTIONS I-VI.

  • I received training with a colleague in Witness Interview Technique from the London Metropolitan Police. Nine witnesses to the incident at Tate Britain came forward and were interviewed.

In The Crimean War and the American Civil War, spectators regularly took picnic baskets to the fields to watch the ongoing battle. The advent of photography enabled wider and much larger audiences, but the space between the ‘real’ of events and the ‘real’ of photographs was unknown territory. To assist the public in this new form of involvement, early photographers often collaged spectators onto their images. After the Fact continues this practice, adding both spectators and participants.
Measuring Photographs
To discover camera angles in the original photograph, I took ‘measuring’ photographs in eight different locations in London, New York and Escanaba, Michigan. Two or three people played all the parts in each image.
Mexican Paintings
In the Philadelphia Museum of Art, there is a small painting that is a copy of the carte de visite photograph. In 2002 I travelled to Mexico where I commissioned six artisan painters to paint copies of Tate Executions I-VI.
The first part of this project was shown as Shoot at Gasworks Gallery in London in 2001. The entire project was shown as After the Fact at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia in 2006.

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