New book edited by SMU faculty member Noah Simblist examines artistic response to historical trauma

'Places of a Present Past' edited by SMU Art Chair Noah Simblist, book coverA new book edited by SMU Art Chair Noah Simblist will have its official launch at the 2015 New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1, Sept. 18-20.

Places of a Present Past brings together three exhibitions, all showcasing the work of international video artists, that were presented at the Meadows School of the Arts’ Pollock Gallery in 2014. All of them were curated by Simblist and the Pollock Gallery’s 2014 curatorial fellow, Sally Frater. Each shared a common theme: addressing the traces of trauma on particular sites and paying close attention to the lasting impacts of war.

The exhibitions explored in the book include Jin-me Yoon’s Extended Temporalities, which invoked the colonial relationship between Japan and Korea in the first half of the 20th century; the group show Where Are You From?, which included artworks by Aissa Deebi, Kamal Aljafari and Dor Guez recounting the story of the Israeli occupation of Palestine; and the Sarah Morris film 1972, alluding to the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, during which 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped and murdered by a Palestinian terrorist group, pointing to the legacy of the Holocaust in Germany and beyond.

SMU Art Chair Noah Simblist

Noah Simblist, chair of SMU’s Division of Art

“The artworks in the book are bound together by a historiographical impulse,” said Simblist, chair and associate professor of art in the Meadows School. “In some sense, these artists act as historians. However, they are less interested in the truth than the way we feel through the legacies of past traumas. They reveal the oblique ways that we repress historical trauma, burying it in the very sites of their origin. Places of a Present Past is filled with an archaeological ethic, metaphorically digging down, both spatially and psychologically, into the depths of transnational grief.”

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