Reflections and Motivations: Memory Art in the Contemporary World by Andreas Huyssen

Memory Art in the Contemporary World: Confronting Violence in the Global South by Andreas Huyssen is a fascinating study of the aesthetic strategies used by contemporary artists from the global South to deal with national trauma.

The book will be released in the UK on 30th June. In the meantime, read on for the author's notes on why he came to write this book in our New Directions in Contemporary Art series...


For me as a member of the first post-World War II generation in Germany, memory and forgetting have been a central feature in my life and published work. The rise of memory studies since the 1980s led me to observe traveling Holocaust tropes, images, and trauma narratives in Latin America after the end of the military dictatorships in Argentina and Chile, in post-apartheid South Africa and in contemporary India. Having gotten to know several memory artists from those countries, my interest in the role of Holocaust memory in other traumatic histories gave way to broader issues of transnational comparison of memory art across the Global South. What has emerged there are vibrant new forms of the dialectic of aesthetics and politics, which draw as much on local artistic traditions as on Western modernism and avant-gardism.


Order your copy of Andreas Huyssen's book HERE.


Doris Salcedo, Fragmentos, 2018, 1296 steel tiles each: 60 x 60. Total: 800 square metres each: 23.62 x 23.62. Total: 800 square metres Bogotá, Columbia © Doris Salcedo. Photo: Juan Fernando Castro.
Doris Salcedo, Atrabiliarios, 1992-2004 shoes, drywall, paint, wood, animal fibre, and surgical thread overall dimensions variable Collection San Francisco Museum of Modern Art © Doris Salcedo.