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Title: Art after Auschwitz : dimensions of ethics and agency in responses to genocide in post World War II art practice
Author: Kyriakides, Yvonne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 1311
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Rather than being located in a field of art that addresses genocide through assumptions connected with identity issues or activism, this thesis of an artist’s exploration of artistic response to genocide in post World War II art practice, is informed by the emerging field of genocide scholarship. Seeing a parallelism between the concerns of genocide scholars and artists who respond to genocide, this thesis is an interdisciplinary study of art positioned alongside the field of genocide scholarship, as theorised by scholars such as Donald Bloxham and A. Dirk Moses. In addressing genocide through broader historical trends, periods and structures, it assumes that artists who respond to genocide share with genocide scholars a concern about genocide at a secondary level and share the potential to create illumination in the field. This thesis explores art practices that address genocide conceptually through structure and material. The central claim of this thesis is that recent and contemporary art practices, here discussed, show a concern to respond to genocide as an ethical response, and that they do so by engaging with the complexity of abstract issues such as complicity and agency. The initial analysis of Adorno’s discourse on ethics, as it relates to response in art, sets up a level of complexity for two further investigations that interrogate the discourses of victim representation and lens-based documents of genocide through ethics and agency. Together these provide an analytical framework for the project. Close readings informed by genocide scholarship, of art practices including those of Jimmie Durham and Francis Alÿs, take forward notions in the existing critical field. These readings yield not only the evidence that demonstrates a commitment to creating ethically based art through conceptually informed practice, in artists responding to genocide, but also the value of a cultural critique that is informed by genocide scholarship.
Supervisor: Archer, Michael Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: visual cultures ; cultural studies ; art history ; critical theory ; genocide studies ; contemporary Western art practice ; art ; genocide ; genocide scholarship ; art practice ; memory ; Adorno ; art and resistance ; art and complicity