Art after atrocity: post-Holocaust representation and affect

Elborne, Dan (2019) Art after atrocity: post-Holocaust representation and affect. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

Text (Whole Thesis)
FINAL DE Art After Atrocity.pdf

Download (4MB) | Preview


The thesis investigates how to effectively address (through visual art) events of war and traumatic memory, with particular focus on the Holocaust and its subsequent visual representation. Through critical analysis and interviews with artists, theorists, historians, philosophers, writers and curators as well as the studio-based outcomes: the research creates a detailed analysis of traumatic, memory based visual representation and effective memorialization, and its purpose in contemporary society. The PhD advances the role, positioning and association of memory within the representation of horrific experience, and how this affects the creation, presentation and affecting qualities of art based on perpetrated atrocities and near incomprehensible human experience (Art After Atrocity). Accompanying the written research is a single, large-scale artwork produced in parallel to the written research. This artwork, Deathgate, consists of an individually handmade ceramic ‘stone’ for each of the 1.3 million people detained in the Auschwitz network of concentration camps creating an immersive installation environment.

The thesis involves the examination of memorialization, remembrance and traumatic memory in the context of visual art. The written research responds to 3 distinct research areas: firstly, German philosopher, Theodor Adorno’s suggestion that there can be ‘no poetry [art] after Auschwitz’, which opens discussion into the problematics of post-Holocaust representation. Secondly, ideas established by French philosopher, Jean- Francois Lyotard regarding the sublime as a way of visually and physically ‘presenting the unpresentable’, and lastly, German Jewish philosopher, Walter Benjamin’s theory concerning the transcendental qualities or ‘affective dimension’ of art (‘aura theory’) in order to establish and position the new term ‘aura of atrocity’ within the field of art theory. This term is directly associated to art with implications of traumatic memory and extreme, seemingly incomprehensible human capability and experience. The investigation of these three research areas will demonstrate the historical, and continually changing function, necessity for, and ongoing role of memorialization and the importance of visual art in relation to the continued representation, legacy and relevance of historical events such as the Holocaust.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 36791
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication (1 Jul 2013 - 28 Feb 2019)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication (1 Jul 2013 - 28 Feb 2019)
Supervisors: Jenkins, Kyle; Akenson, David; Tacey, Alexis
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2019 04:48
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2021 01:36
Uncontrolled Keywords: contemporary art, post-Holocaust, representation, affect
Fields of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190599 Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields > 220299 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/fvp9-hv47

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only