Histories of violence
Elisabeth Lebovici, Anke Kempkes, Katarzyna Bojarska and Natalia Sielewicz in conversation about Miriam Cahn

  • Histories of violence

    Miriam Cahn, "having to kill", 2013/14 + 12.05.2018, oil, canvas, 120 × 195 cm. Courtesy of the artist, Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris and Meyer Riegger, Berlin/Karlsruhe

Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw invites the public to a debate coinciding with the exhibition “MIRIAM CAHN: I AS HUMAN”.

The meeting will be attended by special guests: Anke Kempkes, curator, art historian and researcher of feminism and avant-garde, lecturer at Zurich University of the Arts; Elisabeth Lebovici, art historiam, curator and critic, former chief editor of "Beaux Arts" magazine and arts editor for "Libération", author of Le Beau Vice blog; Katarzyna Bojarska, art and literary critic, translator and scholar, assistant professor in the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, in the Department of Late Modernity Literature and Culture; and Natalia Sielewicz, art historian and curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.

Over the last four decades, Cahn has interrogated contemporary conflicts, spaces of war, phantoms of ritualized power, and the global infrastructure of violence. Off-shore oil rigs, warships, sites of deportation, weapons of mass destruction, and high-rise icons of capitalist institutions populate her testimonies on canvas nad paper alongside anguished bodies in a state of perish and despair.

Together with the invited guests, we will try to address the ethics of representation specific to the oeuvre of Miriam Cahn. How to speak against violence, without a straightforward political complaint and moralist tale? How to express the inexpressible? What duties does the artist hold towards herself, towards the audience and towards the subjects portrayed?

Anke Kempkes

is a curator, art historian and author. In 2003 she was director of the Martin Kippenberger estate in Cologne; in 2004 she was chief curator and deputy director at the Kunsthalle Basel; from 2005-2016 she headed the gallery BROADWAY 1602 in New York as well as the research archive "Female Avant-Garde". Since 2017 she has lived and worked in Warsaw. Main focus of her work: Feminist art history, theory of the avant-garde. 

Elisabeth Lebovici

completed a PhD in Aesthetics in 1983. She has been writing art criticism since 1985, and was an arts and culture editor for "Libération", from 1991 to 2006. Since 2006, she regularly writes her critical blog: Le Beau Vice. An AIDS activist, Elisabeth was the inaugural president of the Paris LGBT film festival, and is currently a founding membre of the LIG «Lesbians of General Interest» fund. She has been involved since the 1990’s into writing on feminism, activism, queer politics and contemporary arts. Her latest book What AIDS Has Done To Me. Art and Activism at the End of the XXth C, (JRP Ringier, «lectures Maison Rouge» 2017) has received the Prix Pierre Daix 2017 in art history.

Katarzyna Bojarska

is a writer, critic, and translator. She is assistant professor at the Polish Academy of Sciences Institute of Literary Research. She has made numerous articles and translations exploring the relations between art, literature, history, and psychoanalysis. Translator of Michael Rothberg’s Multidirectional Memory. Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (Warsaw, 2016) and Susan Buck-Morss’ Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History (Warsaw, 2014). Author of the book Wydarzenia po Wydarzeniu: Białoszewski – Richter – Spiegelman (Warsaw, 2012). From 2011 and 2014, she was a member of the editorial team of "Teksty Drugie", as well as co-founder and editor of "Widok". Theories and practices of visual culture.

Natalia Sielewicz

art historian and curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.

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