Brad Evans and Bracha L. Ettinger in a conversation on art in a time of atrocity for The New York Times.
This is the tenth in a series of dialogues with philosophers and critical theorists on the question of violence. This conversation is with Bracha L. Ettinger, a visual artist, philosopher and psychoanalyst. Her most recent publication is “And My Heart Wound-Space,” published on the occasion of the 14th Istanbul Biennial.
Bracha L. Ettinger: “I begin with art. We are connected through art even if we are, as individuals, retreating from one another and from the world. Each of my paintings starts from the traces of images of human figures — mothers, women and children — abandoned, naked and facing their death. The figure’s wound is her own, but as we witness it, we realize traces of her wound are in me and in you.
Painting for me is an occasion to transform the obscure traces of a violent and traumatic past. Residues and traces of violence continue to circulate throughout our societies. Art works toward an ethical space where we are allowed to encounter traces of the pain of others through forms that inspire in our heart’s mind feeling and knowledge. It adds an ethical quality to the act of witnessing.”
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