Memorial II 1999 Relief oil on canvas 122 102 cm

Contemporary Art inside the Freud Museum

Working through Transit Documents
Postmemory and the Holocaust
by Giovanna Morra 2010

These are paragraphs from a comprehensive academic paper, Part V of which is entitled 'Ralph Freeman: Situating an Ambivalent Postmemory Practice'.

Click for a pdf of the full version or abridged version (Part V only) in a new window.

Postmemory most specifically describes the relationship of children of survivors of cultural or collective trauma to the experiences of their parents, experiences that they 'remember' only as the narratives and images with which they grew up, but that are so powerful, so monumental, as to constitute memories in their own right. (...)

The term 'postmemory' is meant to convey its temporal and qualitative difference from survivor memory, its secondary, or second-generation memory quality, its basis in displacement, its vicariousness and belatedness. Postmemory is a powerful form of memory precisely because its connection to its object or source is mediated not through recollection but through representation, projection, and creation - often based on silence rather than speech, on the invisible rather than the visible. (...)

In this article, I focus on the work of one artist only - Ralph Freeman, because his work activates the problematic at the heart of postmemory representation: the debates between aesthetics and politics, between the individual and the collective, between the past, present and future.