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Panel and Open Discussion: Markers and Memory, Places and Ghosts

With: Vera Frenkel, Reesa Greenberg, Loren Lerner
Moderator: Peter White
November 2, 2006 at 6:00 pm

The discussion centers on artistic practices as modes and methods of investigation, insight and experience in the context of history and cultural memory.

Reesa Greenberg Demo-Graphics
Vera Frenkel's Body Missing, 1994, Susan Hiller's The J Street Project, 2002-2005, and Melissa Shiff's Ark, 2006 use archival procedures and photo-based media to visualize the losses of European Jewry. By visually amassing names and objects, arranging and animating them, these artists create complex, multi-layered narratives whose meanings become more or less geographically or temporally bound. In the context of Montreal, these provocative and profound works prompt local viewers to recognize the city's Jewish history and the ways it responds to marking memory.

Vera Frenkel Allegory and Absence: A non-linear approach to the ethics of representing trauma
Frenkel’s work is generally site-specific, gaining resonance from the space and time contexts in which it is situated. In Linz in 1994, the city of Hitler's childhood and where he planned to retire, she faced the task of making present to the imagination the nature of overwhelming loss.

Loren Lerner The "Amygdala" Effect: Holocaust Sensations in Recent Canadian Art
The brain’s "amygdala" triggers emotions like fear, rage and peacefulness. At the intersections of autobiography and history, some Canadian artists have conveyed the Holocaust as a cerebral reality of sensations perceived through the filter of other people's memories.

Reesa Greenberg is an independent scholar and museum consultant whose research focuses on contemporary exhibitions and display. She has written numerous articles about the use of art in museum exhibitions about the Holocaust and has consulted on exhibitions and installations for the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Edmonton Art Gallery, the Jewish Museum in Amsterdam and the Jewish Museum in New York. See www.reesagreenberg.net

Vera Frenkel is an internationally-recognized multidisciplinary artist. Her videos, drawings, audio works, installations and new media projects have been seen at documenta IX; the Offenes Kulturhaus (Linz, Austria); the Setagaya Museum (Tokyo); the National Gallery of Canada; MoMA (New York); and the Venice Biennale. Frenkel's writings have been much anthologized. "Of Memory and Displacement", a 4-disk DVD collection of key projects and writings, was released in 2005. Frenkel has received the 2006 Governor-General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, the Canada Council Molson Prize and the Bell Canada Award in Video Art, among others. She lives and works in Toronto.

Loren Lerner is Professor and Chair of Art History, Concordia University. Her research has focussed on ethnic, diasporic and ethical consciousness in North American art-making. Lerner is editor of Afterimage: Evocations of the Holocaust in Contemporary Canadian Arts and Literature/Rémanences: Evocations de l'Holocauste dans les arts et littérature canadiens contemporains, based on the Afterimage (2000) exhibition she curated at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and the accompanying symposium. She was also curator of Memories and Testimonies/Memoires et Témoignages (Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, 2002).

Peter White is an independent curator and writer based in Montréal. Formerly curator/director of the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, and director of the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, he has organized numerous exhibitions of contemporary and historical art and developed a wide range of museum programming initiatives. In recent years he has curated Out There is Somewhere: The Arctic in Pictures, and Moving Ideas: A Contemporary Cultural Dialogue with India. He is editor of Naming a Practice: Curatorial Strategies for the Future.