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No One Has a Monopoly Over Sorrow: Representing Trauma and the Everyday in Contemporary Art

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No One Has a Monopoly Over Sorrow: Representing Trauma and the Everyday in Contemporary Art

McGowan, Viola (2011) No One Has a Monopoly Over Sorrow: Representing Trauma and the Everyday in Contemporary Art. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This study aims to situate the contemporary art practices of American sculptor Dario Robleto and Canadian photographers Carlos and Jason Sanchez as explorations of trauma and fragmentation. As such, their artworks are transformed to function as relics and memento mori in order to refer to or negotiate past traumatic events. Examining the artists’ practices through the lens of trauma theory, notions of the fragment and relics, this thesis investigates how they might relate to a larger history of trauma and how the construction of narrative is used to bring self-awareness to the viewer’s sense of mortality and collective experience.
There are three main sections to this critical analysis, all of which employ psychoanalytical theory, socio-political theory, aesthetic theory, material culture theory, as well as theories of photography and sculpture, in order to frame the Sanchez and Robleto artworks as significant interventions from an art historical perspective as well as from a thanatological and anthropological perspective. Within this, notions of testimony, temporality and memory are investigated as they are activated through the sculpture, photography and installation examined in this thesis. The biographies of objects are also underscored in the analysis of the artists’ creations as they illuminate commodity situations, socio-economic structures and psychological perception.
Witnessed in these artworks are elements of everyday situations and everyday objects that erupt with the imprint of trauma. While engaging with concepts of reenactment, Robleto and the Sanchez brothers approach commemoration in a way that is simultaneously romantic and unsettling, revealing conflicts between social structures and material intervention.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:McGowan, Viola
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:August 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):Sloan, Johanne
Keywords:Contemporary Art, Sculpture, Photography, Installation, Trauma, Object Theory, Psychoanalysis, Memory, Thanatology
ID Code:35934
Deposited By:VIOLA MC GOWAN
Deposited On:17 Nov 2011 15:55
Last Modified:17 Nov 2011 15:55
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