Guests Lecture Series
Tue10Dec20196:00 pmWiener Wiesenthal Institut für Holocaust-Studien (VWI), Rabensteig 3, 1010 Wien
Prof. Anat Gilboa. Imaging the Unimaginable: The Holocaust in Israeli Visual Culture
This talk analyzes the reconstruction of traditional concepts of the ‘Jewish Mother’ through visual culture. Based on the 1943 Holocaust photograph of the Warsaw Ghetto by the Viennese born
Nazi Officer Franz Konrad, Nir Hod, an Israeli-born artist, created a series of paintings
Mother (2012). In the series, one of the photographed women is painted on several large
canvases. Influenced by the Post-war German artist Gerhard Richter, whose photography-based
paintings such as Onkel Rudi (1965) were important references for the Israeli artist, Hod chose to
depict an overlooked female figure in the photo and painted her. As opposed to the German
artist, whose paintings underline the importance of documenting Germany’s Nazi past and its
ideology, Hod chose not to commemorate the past but to use the photograph to paint a better
In her talk Dr. Gilboa will argue that Hod’s work is a visual discourse, promoting cultural internationality and gender equality. She will demonstrate that he utilizes the photograph-based painting, not just as a reminder of the past, but to offer alternatives to traditional assumptions. To support this argument, she will consider discussions such as Ulrike Brunotte’s studies on traditional gender roles in Judaism as well as in antisemitism. In sum, by dedicating a series of paintings entitled ‘Mother’ to an overlooked female figure in the photograph of the Warsaw Ghetto, Nir Hod created a symbolic figure of a modern woman whose role as a ‘Jewish Mother’ is a manifestation of modernity.
Wed18Mar20206:00 pmUniversity of Vienna (tbc)
Prof. Shelly Zer-Zion. The Shtetl in the Eretz-Israeli Theatre of the 1930's and the performance of ethnic Zionism
The Shtetl in the Eretz-Israeli Theatre of the 1930's and the performance of ethnic Zionism
The Eastern European Jewish Shtetl was much more than a mere historical reality. Historians and literary scholars agree that "the Shtetl" was a metaphoric trope of Jewish imagination, an autonomous space that celebrated an imagined Jewish microcosm. The metaphoric image of the Jewish shtetl migrated to the Eretz-Israeli culture and occupied the stages of the Hebrew theatre of the 1930's. It became a shared fictional location that appeared in many artistic and cultural performative events.
In this lecture Prof. Zer-Zion would like to explore how the theatrical events that re-enacted the landscapes of the shtetl constructed it as a location of boundary work that conceptualized it as a landscape of Jewish past while negotiating it with the Eretz-Israeli reality and desired future. I would like to focus on three case-studies. In the first case-study I will investigate the tension between peoplehood and the formation of cultural hegemony. On the second case-study I will discuss the temporal tension between past and present. The third case-study will focus on the spatial tension between a net of locations that constitute Jewish identity vs. the centrality of Eretz-Israel.