ReflectSpace: Nonlinear Histories—Transgenerational Memory of Trauma


The ReflectSpace Gallery at Central Library presents “Nonlinear Histories: Transgenerational Memory of Trauma.” This exhibition explores the challenges of addressing the politics of memory of the Armenian Genocide by succeeding second, third, and fourth generations. It will also cover memories and the narratives transmitted in the wake of trauma: the process of the individual and collective ownership of trauma, and the collision of personal, national, and cultural memories.

The exhibit kicks off on Saturday March 17 with a reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. featuring a lecture by Dr. Marianna Hirsch at 7 p.m. called “Forty Days and More: Connective Histories.” Dr. Hirsch is a William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor in the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Her critically acclaimed work combines feminist theory with memory studies, particularly the transmission of memories of violence across generations.

Simultaneously with the Nonlinear Histories, the PassageWay at Downtown Central is hosting an archival exhibition of family memoirs and historic photographs: Prosperity, Loss, and Survival: A Photographic Journey from the Dildilian Family Archive. These exhibitions will run from March 17-May 6, 2018.

Artists featured in the exhibits include:

Jean Marie Casbarian: A New York based artist who sources the sparse archive of her grandmother, Margaret Jurigian, in an attempt to “re-member” and imagine a life that was never fully realized. Working with little more than a few photographs and sketchy anecdotes passed down from generations, Casbarian, writing under the guise of Margaret, narrates Margaret’s life through real and fictitious journal entries, images, texts and public archives. The resulting juxtaposed text and image cross the boundaries of truth and daydream.

Eileen Claveloux: A filmmaker whose work, “The Naming,” is a personal film reflecting on her family and the direct and indirect impact of the trauma of the Armenian Genocide on her generation.

Didem Erk: Istanbul-based artist who addresses her relationship to trauma, memory and archive as a process that can never come to completion. She presents her works as archeological objects under glass that cannot be accessed: official and oral history are intertwined and inseparable.

Hrayr Eulmessekian: Los Angeles-based conceptual artist, who will present work from his series on “Deep Background” which are explorations into the concept of background where time recedes in space, film exists on the edge of movement, relocating the viewer from recollecting to witnessing.

Silvana Der Meguerditchian: Establishing a tenuous but indelible link with an inherited past, Silvina Der Meguerditchian uses hybrid archival material and personal intervention to recall the Armenian Genocide as mediated through her grandmother. For Motivated Memories, Silvina re-configures and re-imagines her installation, “Treasures”, that was displayed as part of “Armenity” exhibition in the Armenian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015 that won the “Golden Lion” prize.

Hrair Sarkissian: Photographer and artist who now lives in London, displays images from his series “Unexposed” which were also part of “Armenity” at the Venice Biennale. The series deals with descendants of Armenians who converted to Islam to escape the Genocide. Today, having rediscovered their roots, and reconverted to Christianity, they are forced to conceal their newfound Armenian identity. Not accepted by Turkish society and not fully part of the Armenian community, they remain invisible.

Harry Vorperian: Sourcing the needlework of his grandmother Lily, this Los Angeles artist brings “Lily’s Garden” to multiple spaces in the Downtown Library. Composed of concrete and steel oversized flowers, the public art installation evokes ancient forms from the Armenian region of Marash in a contemporary context. Lily Vorperian is an NEA Lifetime Achievement Honoree.

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