Art can illuminate traumatic experience in ways that are non-narrative and not necessarily bound to historical veracity as well as in ways that are polyvalent, metaphorical, ambiguous and elusive. With regard to the inconceivable enormity of the Holocaust and its effects on the children of survivors – the generation of “post-memory” – what role can art play in both the preservation of memory and the mediation of the trauma which they have inherited?
During the 1960's, the slogan, “Never Again!” emerged in the Jewish community as a rallying cry of defiance and grief. Unfortunately, there have been too many “Agains” in the 20th and 21st centuries – Stalin’s forced starvation of over 10,000,000 Ukrainians, the 50,000,000 – 70,000,000 Chinese murdered by Mao Zedong, the Cambodian genocide, the Rwandan genocide, and the Sudanese genocide and the current catastrophe unfolding in Syria. Where are the artists and other culture workers who will bear witness to those ruptures in history? Who will be their Geoffrey Laurence?
Simon Zalkind, Curator
View the conversation with artist Geoffrey Laurence and curator Simon Zalkind, recorded on April 3rd.