• Posthumous Images: Contemporary Art and Memory Politics in Post–Civil War Lebanon

    Pages: 264
    Illustrations: 71 color illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
    Series: Art History Publication Initiative
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  • List of Illustrations  ix
    Acknowledgments  xiii
    Introduction  1
    1. Captive Subjects: On the Geopolitics of Sex and Translation in Walid Raad's Hostage: The Bachar Tapes  27
    2. Resistance, Video Martyrdom, and the Afterlife of the Lebanese Left  55
    3. Latent Images, Buried Bodies: Mourning Lebanon's Disappeared  93
    4. Suspended Places: The Void and the Monument in Post-Civil War Beirut  131
    5. Images of Futures Past: The Lebanese Rocket Society  159
    Coda. Time Bomb  177
    Notes  193
    Bibliography  225
    Index  239
  • "Sophisticated and carefully researched . . . . The significance of [Elias's] book for current Anglophone art history is its in-depth and rewarding analysis of a context outside the usual terms of reference."


  • "Sophisticated and carefully researched . . . . The significance of [Elias's] book for current Anglophone art history is its in-depth and rewarding analysis of a context outside the usual terms of reference."

  • “Chad Elias's thoughtful analysis of artistic activity under 'state-sanctioned amnesia' in the Lebanese context is eye-opening and a source of inspiration for anyone interested in the long-lasting effects of imperial violence. The Lebanese Civil War and the amnesia it continues to generate are not assumed as a background against which Lebanese art is studied, or as a source of an un-presentable trauma. Amnesia is conceived as orchestrated by the state and integral to an entire economy of violence, desires, and mistranslations. Elias ingeniously shows art to be both a product of and a medium for this economy, but also a form of resistance to it.” — Ariella Azoulay, author of, Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology of Photography

    “Offering a compelling overview of contemporary Lebanese art, Posthumous Images is a welcome addition to cutting-edge scholarship on the Middle East, critically addressing the relationship between media and performance, and the formation of experimental memory cultures following periods of state violence and military conflicts.” — T. J. Demos, author of, Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology

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  • Description

    For almost two decades of its history (1975-90), Lebanon was besieged by sectarian fighting, foreign invasions, and complicated proxy wars. In Posthumous Images, Chad Elias analyzes a generation of contemporary artists who have sought, in different ways, to interrogate the contested memory of those years of civil strife and political upheaval. In their films, photography, architectural projects, and multimedia performances, these artists appropriate existing images to challenge divisive and violent political discourses. They also create new images that make visible individuals and communities that have been effectively silenced, rendered invisible, or denied political representation. As Elias demonstrates, these practices serve to productively unsettle the distinctions between past and present, the dead and the living, official history and popular memory. In Lebanon, the field of contemporary art is shown to be critical to remembering the past and reimagining the future in a nation haunted by a violent and unresolved war.

    About The Author(s)

    Chad Elias is Assistant Professor of Art History at Dartmouth College.
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