In the second half of the 20th century, after the atrocities of World War II, humanity faced the need to comprehend the indescribable. Figuring out how to live with the knowledge of terror and yet to remain human became a problem in and of itself.
Recent decades displayed the potency of art to disclose the areas of working through the past, usually shuttered in conventional academic or political optics. Art brings vital breakthroughs in approaching the subject of trauma.
Any person, reflecting on how to work through the tragic past, especially if they did not witness the events, confronts the question: does an artist have to recreate the nightmarish reality to comprehend it? Or do they have to elaborate an indirect statement to hold the dignity of the victims and those included in the artist's study? We face the issue of the representation's limits.
Ukrainian curators offer a conversation between representatives of different countries — Poland and Ukraine, the areas where the 20th-century nightmares left conspicuous traces, — and diverse disciplinary spaces. The shared perspective will make it possible to advance common yet specific ways of working through the tragic past.
Recording of the discussion "Mapping the Memory by Means of Art" at the Ars Electronica festival
The project Past / Future / Art is implemented in partnership with forumZFD Programme in Ukraine. forumZFD is an international non-governmental organization, which supports civil society in countries affected by war and conflict. forumZFD works with experts in conflict transformation in Germany, and numerous other countries in Europe, Middle East and South-East Asia.