After-affects / After-images: Trauma and Aesthetic Transformation in the Virtual Feminist Museum

by Griselda Pollock

Do artists travel away from or towards trauma?

Is trauma encrypted or inscribed in art?

Or can aesthetic practices – after-images – bring about transformation – that does not imply cure or resolution – of the traces – after-affects – of trauma, personal trauma or historical traumas inhabiting the world whose traces artists also process as participants in and sensors for our life-worlds and histories? How does the viewer, coming belatedly or from elsewhere encounter works bearing such traces or seeking forms through which to touch and transform them?

These are some of the questions posed by major feminist art historian and cultural analyst, Griselda Pollock, in her latest installation of the virtual feminist museum. In closely-read case studies, we encounter artworks by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Ana Mendieta, Louise Bourgeois, Alina Szapocznikow, Anna Maria Maiolino, Vera Frenkel, Sarah Kofman and Chantal Akerman to explore trauma and bereavement, fatal illness, first and second generation Holocaust experience, migration, exile and the encounter with political horror and atrocity. Offering a specifically feminist contribution to trauma studies, and a feminist psychoanalytical contribution to the study of contemporary art, this volume continues the conceptual innovations that have been the hall-mark of Pollock's dedicated exploration of 'feminist interventions in art's histories'.

Griselda Pollock is Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art and Director of the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History at the University of Leeds.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Manchester University Press (October 22, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0719087988
ISBN-13: 978-0719087981