Psychic Wounds: On Art & Trauma explores a diverse group of artists whose memory of historical trauma has provided them with a unique power to generate works of art. Although there have been important examples of art that addresses wounding, scarring and healing throughout the twentieth century; the proliferation of violent imagery since World War II has led to new kinds of artworks that marshal consciousness of traumatic events and their cultural processing. These developments in art practice run parallel with the emergence of “trauma studies” in the mid-1980s, which confront the repercussions of the Holocaust, global conflict, the nuclear age, sexual violence, race and gender discrimination.

Long before they were explicitly understood as traumatic the work of painters such as Alberto Burri, John Latham, and Kazuo Shiraga carried the traces of horrific historical experiences. Since then the complex intersection of technological change, mass media, and new patterns of consumption, work and global mobility have bolstered other media such as sculpture, photography and moving image and their ability to reformulate the existential void that opened up after the Second World War. The installation will reflect these developments crisscrossing time frames, geographical locations, subject matter and media. The intention of this approach is for the viewer to enter a zone where they can interact with the artworks in a way that reflects the entwined affects of structural and historically induced trauma.

The exhibition includes over 100 works of art with a number of new works by the exhibiting artists along with loans from a number of Museums and several important private collections. It aims to show how artists and artworks can teach us from their processes, and in their materiality something beyond what theory already hypothesizes about trauma and aesthetic transformation.

Participating artists:

Kai Althoff Karin Mamma Anderson Ida Applebroog Michael Armitage Mirosław Balka Georg Baselitz Kevin Beasley María Berrio Louise Bourgeois Cecily Brown Alberto Burri Miriam Cahn Gillian Carnegie Marcin Dudek Marlene Dumas Bracha L. Ettinger Lucio Fontana Tim Gardner Gilbert & George Robert Gober Renée Green Mona Hatoum Eva Hesse Gary Hill Minoru Hirata Jim Hodges General Idea Rashid Johnson Hayv Kahraman William Kentridge Josh Kline Yayoi Kusama John Latham Glenn Ligon Carrie Mae Weems Victor Man Kimiyo Mishima Saburo Murakami Xie Nanxing Natsuyuki Nasanishi Bruce Nauman Oliver Payne  Sigmar Polke Carol Rama Michelle Rawlings Gerhard Richter Mimmo Rotella Cindy Sherman Shozo Shimamoto Kazuo Shiraga Kiki Smith Haim Steinbach Chung Chang-Sup Alina Szapocnikow Jirō Takamatsu Felix Gonzalez-Torres Luc Tuymans Shelagh Wakely Rachel Whiteread Hannah Wilke Cathy Wilkes Jonas Wood Yukinori Yanagi Toshio Yoshida Anicka Yi Portia Zvavahera

An extensive and richly illustrated new publication is forthcoming and will include both new and historical scholarship on the subject by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Huey Copeland, Gavin Delahunty, Bracha L. Ettinger, Beatriz Colomina, Hal Foster, Erika Naginski, Griselda Pollock and Robert Storr.

Curated by Gavin Delahunty