Memory

Overview

This anthology investigates the turn in art not only towards archives and histories, the relics of modernities past, but toward the phenomena, in themselves,of "haunting" and the activation of memory. It looks at a wide array of artistic relationships to memory association, repetition and reappearance, as well as forms of "active" forgetting. Its discussions encompass artworks from the late 1940s onward, ranging from reperformances such as Marina Abramović's Seven Easy Pieces (embodied resurrections of ...

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Overview

This anthology investigates the turn in art not only towards archives and histories, the relics of modernities past, but toward the phenomena, in themselves,of "haunting" and the activation of memory. It looks at a wide array of artistic relationships to memory association, repetition and reappearance, as well as forms of "active" forgetting. Its discussions encompass artworks from the late 1940s onward, ranging from reperformances such as Marina Abramović's Seven Easy Pieces (embodied resurrections of decades-removed performance pieces by her contemporaries) to the inanimate trace of "memory" Robert Morris assigns to his free-form felt pieces, which "forget" in their present configurations their previous slides and falls.

Contextualizing memory's role in visual theory and aesthetic politics—from Marcel Proust's optics to Bernard Stiegler's analysis of memory's "industrialization"—this collection also surveys the diversity of situations and registers in which contemporary artists explore memory. Art that engages with memory embodied in material and spatial conditions is examined beside works that reflect upon memory's effects through time, and yet others that enlist the agency of remembrance or forgetting to work through aspects of the numerous pasts by which the present is always haunted.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This insightful collection investigates the multifarious iterations of memory in contemporary artistic practices and thought. The anthology is comprised of 46 seminal short essays and excerpts penned by artists (e.g., Joseph Cornell), curators, and theorists. Many texts are cross-referential, such as a piece by Georges Perec followed by one about the French writer and filmmaker; motifs flow through different pieces creating an intertwined discussion. Farr's artful curation lends coherence to essays that examine an array of mediums, including minimalist sculpture, avant-garde literature, performance art, and video installation. The art works discussed invoke memory in varied forms including the appropriation of images (such as a 1988 painting recalling the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike) or events, purposeful forgetting, meditations on archives, and the politics of remembrance. These works illume how we, collectively and individually, strive to forget, remember, or reconstruct the past and how this is mediated by art. Although a few essays may be intimidatingly theory-heavy for those not conversant in art criticism, this stimulating collection is bound to provoke further investigation for the curious initiate and seasoned critical thinker alike. (Sept.)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ian Farr is commissioning editor for Documents of Contemporary Art. He was formerly an editor of Phaidon's Contemporary Artists and Themes & Movements series.

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