The book explores representations of the Holocaust in contemporary art practices. Through carefully selected art projects, the author illuminates the specific historical, cultural, and political circumstances that influence the way we speak-or do not speak-about the Holocaust. The book's international focus brings into view film projects made by key artists reflecting critically upon forms of Holocaust memory in a variety of geographical contexts. Kkesi connects the ethical implications of the memory of the Holocaust with a critical analysis of contemporary societies, focusing upon artists who are deeply engaged in doing both of the above within three regions: Eastern Europe (especially Poland), Germany, and Israel. The case studies apply current methods of contemporary art theory, unfolding their implications in terms of memory politics and social critique.
Zoltn Kkesi is associate professor at the Department of Art Theory and Curatorial Studies at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest.
"In this powerful volume, the Hungarian-born scholar and researcher Zoltn Kkesi examines selected artworks produced over the past three decades that transform or reframe social memory of the Shoah. the author contends persuasively that paradigms and concepts of Holocaust memory have in fact shifted significantly from the era in which survivor testimony and trauma were the dominant tropes, beginning in the aftermath of the war, when recordings of survivor accounts were first made. The identity of survivor and witness began to emerge as a result of the Eichmann trial of 1961 and of psychological research into the sequelae of trauma, as practices of remembrance and 'memorial culture' developed in the West in the late 1970s and 1980s and valorized public accounts of personal experience. Persuasively elaborating the concern of contemporary artists and filmmakers to mobilize an interactive approach that engages with the present, Zoltn Kkesi's major study makes a vibrant, provocative and necessary contribution to the literature on Holocaust memory, representation and transmission."
Hungarian Cultural Studies