Tucked away on a back stairwell in the Supreme Court of Mexico is one of the most remarkable images of legal violence to grace any legal institution in the world. Rafael Cauduro’s contemporary masterpiece is a profoundly moving indictment of law’s complicity in grotesque and everyday acts of injustice. But Cauduro’s work is not just a representation or a critique. It transforms the very genre of murals on which it draws. In the process it nourishes, not just in the artist but the viewer, vital aesthetic capacities and insights – superpowers which invite us all to transcend the status quo.
Professor Desmond Manderson is director of the Centre for Law, Arts and the Humanities at Australian National University. He designs innovative interdisciplinary courses with colleagues in English, philosophy, art theory, history, and politics, and pursues a range of collaborative projects with the National Library, the National Gallery, the ABC, and Street Theatre. Recent work examines the intersection of law and the visual arts, notably Law and the Visual: Representations, Technologies and Critique (Toronto 2018); and Danse Macabre: Temporalities of Law in the Visual Arts (Cambridge 2018).