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The Art of Rachel Whitread

Rachel Whitread’s Judenplatz Memorial in Vienna: Memory and Absence by James E. Young.

Rather than filling in the void left by murdered people with a positive form, the artist would carve out an empty space in Berlin by which to recall a now absent people. rather than concretising and thereby displacing the memory of Europe’s murdered Jews, the artist would open a place in the landscape to be filled with the memory of those who come to remember Europe’s murdered Jews.

Townsend, C. and Whiteread, R. (2004).ย The art of Rachel Whiteread. London: Thames & Hudson.

Making work about absence and presence, and voices unheard and silenced, has been difficult as I’ve been sensitive to the fact that memorialisation represents something entirely different to the listening of and documenting of testimony, and the retelling of forgotten histories. If anything, memorials are what change the narrative of the histories of violence in a way that doesn’t do much to honour the memory or wishes of those impacted, but does more to those who have been able to escape judgement for their parts in that violence.

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