The Representation of Bodies in Visual Contemporary Arts after Auschwitz
This project is about the representation of bodies in visual contemporary arts after Auschwitz. It interrogates the rupture the event provoked in the European and American visual arts after 1945.
The dissertation is based on three hypotheses. Firstly, it will be argued that the Holocaust shatters not only the political, social and economic patterns of Europe but also its artistic ones. As an event, it will be defined how it has rushed the artistic trends of modernism. Secondly, if the Holocaust consisted in an extermination plan of the Jewry (of its history, its memory and its concrete productions), it pointed primarily Jew people as human beings. The last step of this process aimed to make those bodies disappear. That is why the bodies –their representation after Auschwitz– are the nodal objects of this thesis. Finally, the ultimate function of the works of art is the conservation of what was and the preservation of what could be; i.e. its memorial function. This does not mean that those artworks all clearly refer to the Holocaust, but rather that they bear its traces, its cast shadow, conforming a constellation of indirect signs that indicate, precisely, the scope of the Holocaust in our contemporary history.
Paul Bernard-Nouraud has been a PhD-student at l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) since 2010. He holds a Master's degree in Theater Theory from l'Université libre de Bruxelles (2010); in Art and Language Theory from l'EHESS (2009); as well as a Master's degree in Aesthetics from l'Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (2009). He was awarded several fellowships, among them from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. and from the Auschwitz Foundation in Brussels.