This introduction explains the origins, aims and scope of this thematic issue on Displacement, Memory and the Visual Arts: Second-Generation (Jewish) Artists, which builds on a symposium held at the University of Leicester in May 2021. It offers a discussion of key perspectives on the notions of ‘second generation’ and ‘postmemory’ within the visual arts, followed by an overview of the contributions to the publication. The article then identifies and analyses a number of key threads and themes in the volume, including issues of belated memory, the uses by artists of archival images and documents, their engagement with space and embodiment, and the role of art in memory transmission. These discussions serve as a basis for an examination of how postmemory in the visual arts opens up possibilities for considering the relationships of second-generation artists to the past, and, more widely, revisiting contemporary understanding and remembrances of the Holocaust and its aftermath.
Dr Imogen Wiltshire is a Senior Lecturer in History of Art and Visual Culture at the University of Lincoln. Prior to taking up this post, she was a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow and a Teaching Fellow in Modern Art at the University of Leicester, having completed her AHRC-funded PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2017. Her forthcoming monograph on Art-Making, Therapy and Modernism in the UK and the US includes analysis of the roles played by refugee artists and pedagogues who fled from Nazism in developing occupational therapy and art therapy. Her interest in the body, trauma and post-Holocaust artists led her to write an article on Magdalena Abakanowicz (Kwartalnik Rzez´by Oron´sko, 2019). Imogen is co-convenor of Confabulations: Art Practice, Art History, Critical Medical Humanities (2021–24), with Dr Fiona Johnstone and Dr Allison Morehead. She is also the Review Editor at Sculpture Journal (Liverpool University Press).
Dr Fransiska Louwagie completed a PhD on Holocaust testimony and literature in French and Francophone literature at the University of Leuven (Belgium), and developed further research interests in memory studies and literary multilingualism at post-doctoral level. After ten years first as Lecturer and then as Associate Professor in French Studies at the University of Leicester, she has taken up a position as Senior Lecturer in French Studies at the University of Aberdeen in August 2022. She is the author of Témoignage et littérature d'après Auschwitz (Brill, 2020) and has co-edited the following volumes and thematic issues: La bande dessinée dans l'orbe des guerres et des génocides du XXe siècle (with Daniel Weyssow, Témoigner, 2011); Un ciel de sang et de cendres: Piotr Rawicz et la solitude du témoin (with Anny Dayan Rosenman, Kimé, 2013); Ego-histories of France and the Second World War: Writing Vichy (with Manu Bragança, Palgrave, 2018); Key Cultural Texts in Translation (with Kirsten Malmkjær and Adriana Serban, Benjamins, 2018) and Tradition and Innovation in Franco-Belgian bande dessinée (with Simon Lambert, European Comic Art, 2021).