Upcoming events:

‘The space aside: translations between the personal and the collective memory in art practice and beyond’, MSA Conference, 2021, as part of The Domain of the Personal in the Narrative Act.

The project is the result of an invitation I extended to Katya Oicherman and Sharone Lifschitz to collaborate after we met at the MSA Conference in Madrid in July 2019. Here we joined the Arts and Memory Working Group, led by Astrid Schmetterling and Nela Milic. As part of this we will be sharing our research, artworks, and writing at the conference next week. 

To date we have presented together at a two-day seminars workshop organised at Goldsmiths College, University of London in December 2019, while invitations to present with artists and academics in Prague, at the last MSA conference in Charlottesville, have been postponed due to the pandemic. Despite this we have continued our dialogue through conversations- recorded and transcribed, shared thoughts, and writing.

‘Pandemic, Jewish Learning and Us

For new writing platform launched on 13 July 2020.

Current research project and collaboration:

The Domain of the Personal in the Narrative Act: collaborative project with artists Katya Oicherman and Sharone Liftschitz, writer and curator Rebecca Harris.

This project is the result of my personal research and the invitation I have extended to Katya Oicherman and Sharone Liftschitz to collaborate. The three of us first met at the MSA Conference in Madrid in July 2019, where we joined the Arts and Memory Working Group led by Astrid Schmetterling and Nela Milic. To date we have presented together at a two-day seminars workshop organised at Goldsmiths College, University of London in December 2019.
In Sharone’s work memory is traced within public ‘non-spaces’, through encounters and conversations with strangers. In Katya’s short animations she reflects on the elusive personal character of mass-produced textiles hinting at the absent body. Rebecca’s reading of poetical language in relation to a cultural and intellectual engagement with literature outside of the traditions of Art History attempts to create a framework for the reading of artworks. Crossing disciplines and geographies our presentations will engage with shifting acts of translation between personal and collective memory in the different contexts of our practices: human interaction in travel and urban space in contemporary Germany, acts of misreading and unmaking and poetical language, and linking family stories and textile patterns in the Soviet Jewish family archive.

Past events:

Esther, Vashti and Artemisia: Translation in Narrative Form. Part of Chochmah (wisdom): a feminist discussion series, open to everyone, fifth instalment Sunday 26 July, 7pm.

Memory and Arts: The space aside: translations between the personal and the collective memory in art practice and beyond. (Chair: Rebecca Harris), MSA Annual Conference, June 2020, Charlottesville, USA.

This panel discussion forms the first part of a collaborative project between curator and writer Rebecca Harris and artists Sharone Lifschitz and Katya Oicherman. In this panel we will reflect on the different strategies our respective work utilizes to address interplays of personal and collective memory in relation to the role of public memorial practices in our societies. Short focused presentations will provide the basis for discussion among the audience and us. This will be recorded and developed into a publication and an exhibition in the future. This panel will approach ideas surrounding the art language that permits absences and movement, leaving space for the viewer/reader’s engagement with her/his own emotional and intellectual response, so opening the possibility of an engagement with the past and our present aside of our daily experiences of public memory.

Memory Wonderlands, Art and Design studios, Prague College, April 2020.
Convened by Branislava Kuburovic (Prague College) and Cathrine Bublatzky (Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies)

I plan to participate in the workshops that aim to proceed with the discussions started in Madrid and London on the relation between the multiplicity of memories, the nation state and the raising nationalism within Europe and in other contexts, beginning from the work of art. Following the larger theme of “(trans) national memory wonderlands”, the workshops will take critical inspiration from publications such as by Sharon McDonald Heritage and Identity in Europe Today (2013), the keynote by Aleida Assmann “’Re-Imagening’ the Nation: Memory, Identity, and the Emotions”, initiatives such as the Czech project “Memory of Nations”, and the Bubny Memorial of Silence.
This workshop sets out with the belief that artists are central agents in the field of remembering, also ‘remembering a nation state’, and in terms of their practices to perform citizenship. My personal research and the project I am working on with Sharone and Katya elates to a number of the areas they plan to consider such as the constructions of identity beyond nation state, feminism, and the role of thinking migration. I am please that through such an engagement, I am able to work with, and alongside scholars within and beyond art.

Arts and Memory Working Group Seminars, Goldsmiths College, 11-12th December 2019

My presentation sought to engage the research group in the collaborative project I am working on with Katya Oicherman and Sharone Lifschitz . My interest for some time has been focused on the activity of the artist through an engagement with literary practices aside from traditional art historical discourse and so working with contemporary female artists who are themselves, engaged in practices where language through writing, reading, and listening, provides an opportunity to open a discussion on shared and distinct interests, thinking in terms of the borders between thinking and making, theory and action. My way into this is with reference to the ‘art writers’, while also approaching the poet and translator’s work, and the writtenness of Hélène Cixous, in order to focus on our visceral and intellectual experiences of art. Without claiming that any of this specifically relates to either Katya or Sharone’s work, although one can find elements at times, I introduced a text as an object, from which I initiated discussion on the a number of themes as a way of thinking about art practice more generally.

Tselem Elohim in the Arts, National Gallery, October 2019

What the visual arts can tell us about the relationship between an anthropomorphic God and theomorphic humanity.
With supporting text titled: ‘Thinking about Methods for Translation when looking at Art’

MSA Annual Conference, Madrid, June 2019

Literary Dialectics: Seeking New Perspectives on Memory through Gerhard Richter’s Birkenau paintings

Presentation abstract:

Thinking in terms of the politics of memory in relation to sociological approaches and cultural heritage, this paper takes Gerhard Richter’s Birkenaupaintings as the starting point. Engaging with different literary methods of reading, I will present an alternative route to the experience of art in order to re-evaluate how we negotiate universal and specific memory. 

While the ancient Greeks privileged vision, lessening the significance of language in western culture,[1] in Judaism there is no passive receiving of ‘Tradition’ and reactivating the text awakens “the creative force of interpretation.”[2]This form of reading provides freedom from social language, an idea played out by Benjamin on history as subject to the structures within the present. This links to Derrida’s deconstruction of language and the idea that historicism manufactures its own unimaginable.Meanwhile, whileanachronism may be a flaw in historical writing, it is a legitimate element of non-historical genres.[3]Rather, it can be an approach to narratives, to our relationship with our memory and history that offers technique for re-evaluating how we think about past and present experiences. This paper identifies the relationship between this perspective and techniques used by writers to challenge our receptive skills and reveal subjectivity, while offering new meaning and interpretation.

Considering parts of the visual that are not ‘useful’[4], rendered through painting, we can think what these elements do when attempting to engage with them. Speaking of the ‘imagination’ I refer to the experience of constructing a dialectic between what is perceived and what we know: an opportunity to identify and question assumptions of passive and active reading around the artwork. The ‘dialectical’ provides potential for the double-rhythm of collective and personal memory and thinking, and opportunity to consider the complexity of separating biography and art form. To provide a route into how the arts can embody and enact the affect of memory one might ask: can there be any part of the encounter with art that could be described as a non-discursive aspect of aesthetic experience?  

Introduction to paper:

My interest is in art practice and how we might engage with art as a way to consider the activity of thinking-through-making. So while I am dealing with works that take the title from events of the Holocaust, I will approach this through a method I take throughout my research, by thinking perhaps how our thinking body engages with artworks and how this can help us to re-engage with artistic practice and the site of living and historical memory. My approach removes direct discussion on the Holocaust, perhaps because of my personal inherited memory and closeness to it, but also because my research deals with how we approach art practice through our experiences and therefore I intend to open up a space for universal memory and bringing different experiences to art. Thus, I would say that I write on process of making and thinking-through-making, and thinking how this might allow one to consider the visceral experience of making and thinking about art.

[1]Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought(University of California Press, 1993). 545

[2]Marc-Alain Ouaknin, The Burnt Book: Reading the Talmud, trans. Llewellyn Brown, New Ed edition (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998). 91

[3]Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory(Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1982) 18.

[4]Georges Didi-huberman, Images in Spite of All: Four Photographs from Auschwitz, Reprint edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).

Richter, Gerhard,Birkenau,(937-1), oil on canvas, 2014, 260 x 200 cm,
Richter, Gerhard,Birkenau,(937-2), oil on canvas, 2014, 260 x 200 cm,
Richter, Gerhard,Birkenau,(937-3), oil on canvas, 2014, 260 x 200 cm,
Richter, Gerhard,Birkenau,(937-4), oil on canvas, 2014, 260 x 200 cm,
Richter,  Gerhard, Grau (Grey),(194-16) oil on canvas, 1967, 34 cm x 28 cm,
Richter, Gerhard, Grau(Grey),(194-12) oil on canvas, 1968, 
40 cm x 35 cm,
The Talmud is the comprehensive written version of Jewish oral law containing subsequent commentaries.
Richter, Gerhard, AbstraktesBild(Abstract Painting), (911-1), oil on canvas, 2009, 200 x 300 cm,
Richter, Gerhard, AbstraktesBild(Abstract Painting), (911-2), oil on canvas, 2009, 200 x 300 cm,