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Memory, power and place: where is Guernica?

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Abstract:

This article engages with the problematic of what constitutes cultural memory and the action of such memory as it is embedded in and dispersed through aesthetic cultural productions. Picasso's iconic work Guernica is the case study for this investigation, not least because of its fame, which might lead to the mistaken view that we can know the painting. The article employs terminologies from philosophical discourse, the field of memory studies and the notion of haunting in order to unravel certain fixed preconceptions about such an iconic work and create the possibility of a way of regarding memory as the surplus of an event. This surplus is essentially regarded not as negative reification but instead as something that contains and opens up positive potentialities for the pursuit of justice.

Keywords: CULTURAL MEMORY; GUERNICA; HAUNTING; JUSTICE; SURPLUS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/jrs.2009.090204

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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