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"Game Over": Israeli and German Visual Poetics of Catastrophe.

Dina Shenhav, a contemporary Israeli artist, explores different forms of catastrophe in her work. Her aesthetic inquiry reveals repetitive themes, among them surprising views on the reciprocal relation of man and nature, ruins of buildings, dislocated sites, and intense images of violence. For example, in Scenario (2011), Shenhav calls attention to the earliest, primeval human fear of apocalyptic situations. This fear is based on the presence of spectacular events from the dawn of history to the present time--places that have experienced destruction, ruin, and devastation caused by man and civilization or by acts of nature. (1) This view is already explored in City (2000), which presents fragments of charcoal scattered on the floor, arranged as a model of an archeological site. Devastation prevails in Shenhav's works and is conveyed through the choice of materials, as noted by Tami Katz-Freiman, the curator of D.O.A. (Dead on Arrival, 2015): "Using soft materials such as ashes or foam, she sculpts powerful scenes of domestic and urban life and destruction. Despite the numerous mediums she works with (installation, sculpture, painting, drawing, photography and video), the material she has been most identified with for over a decade is an old-fashioned yellowish-white type of mattress foam, which she sculpts and carves in a meticulous, labor-intensive process to create deeply moving scenes." (2)

A closer look at Shenhav's moving scenes, however, calls attention to the relationship between Europe and the Middle East in general, and between Israel and Germany in particular. For example, Forest (2009) and Hunters (2013) demonstrate European images of nature, which reverberate with a preceding series of photographs of German forests (Kiel, 2008). Another work, Portrait of Evil (2002), presents a vast amount of tiny glass beads glued to the surface of the picture, creating a large image. Shenhav's use of this "naive material" to create portraits of Nazi officers has a shocking effect on the viewer. In an interview with Hily Harel, she explains: "I wanted to create a defective jewelry to create the image of the devil out of decorative materials. When watching documentaries of the Nazi regime I am always amazed by the extravagance used." (3) Other works that inquire into moral issues generated by the violent conflict in the Middle East are Game Over (2001) and Soldier (2008). What do these works tell us about catastrophe?

As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Shenhav admits to an ongoing fear of an imminent disaster waiting for her around the corner. Born in Budapest to an Orthodox family, Shenhav's father was thirteen years old when the Nazis invaded Budapest. Shenhav's grandfather was drafted and imprisoned for several years in a prison camp before returning to Budapest after the war. Shenhav's grandmother was deported to Terezin; she survived, however, and returned to Budapest as well. Later, both of them immigrated to Israel. Shenhav's father was able to escape from the Nazis using forged certificates, and in 1944, he joined the partisans and helped to rescue Hungarian Jews. When the war was over, he tried to immigrate to Erez Yisra'el but had to remain in Cyprus for two years because the British administration did not allow the immigrants to disembark in Erez Yisra'el.

Shenhav works through this horrific experience, which her father revealed in fragments, gradually, never complete, coherent, or explicit. Despite the silence surrounding his experience, she felt it was always there. Art, too, was there as an inherent part of the home she grew up in (her father was an artist, and her mother an author), seemingly a way of working through that which was unconceivable. Among the art books surrounding her were those by German artists such as Albrecht Durer, Caspar David Friedrich, and Anselm Kiefer. In the 1990s, Shenhav read the Hebrew translations of W. G. Sebald's literary work, which made a great impression on her. In Shenhav's view, Sebald draws attention to the small details. His poetics simultaneously embodies closeness and distance, which she has translated into her own work. This contradictory movement is demonstrated in her aesthetic elaboration of charged materials and painful moments that need to be left alone for a while before one can return to work through them intensively.

I intend to show that Shenhav uses allegorical structures in order to reflect on these painful, fragmentary moments generated in various historical disasters, which relate to life stories in Europe and the Middle East. Giving expression to horror and suffering, her aesthetic work suggests yet, at the same time, strongly negates melancholic conclusions. I borrow the term "allegory" from Walter Benjamin's essay "The Origin of German Tragic Drama," in which he defines a poetic texture of hints and traces that enables a discovery without, however, fully discarding the concealed layers. In the context of this poetic framework, I read Shenhav's 2008 exhibition in Tel Aviv, which explores the fractures that appear as amputated limbs, devoid of life. In End of the Forest, they are composed of sponge and cut-down tree trunks, meticulously arranged according to shape and size. Crystal presents them as erased details or components that are missing from a series of colorful variations on photographs of synagogues in Germany that were shattered and set on fire during Kristallnacht. In Rest, exaggerated, grotesque sponge cutouts seem to terrorize the organic appearance of the mosaic piece, which is based on a photograph of a group of soldiers in the Second Lebanon War.

These three works breach geographic boundaries--Europe and the Middle East, Germany, Israel, and Lebanon. Each geographic zone has its own stories. Shenhav crowds them into one aesthetic space: the gallery hall. They are now reflected in one another, yet they are not identical. Here lies the ethical power of Shenhav's work, which connects distinct and distant narratives, personal and political, private and collective. My suggested reading of these artworks thus looks into crucial junctures that are traced in German and Israeli traditions of representing these crises. These traditions, both visual and poetic, also have a history as part of a substantial cultural repertoire and a rich body of scholarship.

In an introductory essay to an issue of Word & Image, Edward Timms and Debora Schultz consider an area of research that reflects the historical interplay between word and image. They suggest an alternative approach of presenting pictorial narrative as "an art of crisis that can be correlated with periods of ideological upheaval." (4) One example is the collapse of confidence in the grand narrative that had sustained European civilization at the turn of the twentieth century, which resulted in both avant-garde writing and experimental art in an aesthetic of fragmentation. In suggesting that the various works featured in the issue resemble one another in the "impulse to construct an autobiographical narrative in pictorial terms," Timms and Schultz argue that at the heart of these works is the discrepancy between traditional aesthetic paradigms and disruptive modern experiences. (5) Word and images are syncretically combined, because in a situation of unprecedented upheaval, these artists are committed to the quest for meaning.

My exploration of Dina Shenhav's work attempts to develop and elaborate these arguments. In this essay, I suggest reading her art as an autobiographical narrative in pictorial terms that highlights the tensions derived from the interplay between different modes of representation--word and image, poetic and visual, past and present, in German and in Hebrew. Looking at Shenhav's works, such as City (2000), Game Over (2001), Dog (2005), End of the Forest (2008), Crystal (2008), and Rest (2008), invites the spectator to tour paths filled with destruction and ruin, thereby both posing challenges to familiar, traditional modes of observation and expanding the horizons of preconceived notions of beauty. Passing through the bodies of cut-down trees, along the skeletal ruins of destroyed houses, in conjunction with the faces of soldiers as still lifes, unravels sites of deficiency--axes that cut through time periods and territories, intersections devoid of consolation, all dominated by disaster. These scenes demonstrate a visual poetics of catastrophe created by Shenhav in her coming to terms with a private and collective traumatic past that is inseparable from bearing witness to an ongoing political present.


Referring to her earlier work City (fig. 1), an installation reminiscent of a colossal calamity, Shenhav explains, "Different models of archeological sites influenced me when working on this sculpture. I was trying to describe an archeological site that was burnt, total ruins. I wanted the site to look like it can be anywhere." (6) Composed of wooden and coal ruins, Shenhav's city extends out as a rectangular field of shards and smashed, black wooden scraps, which are scattered in a mess and appear like sooty stones that remained after the destruction. The city, therefore, exists as that which remained, as a ruin. The inherent emptiness of what survived the calamity is testimony to what preceded it, the city that once existed. In this sense, the black remnants of the city also suggest an archeological site. The archeologist returns and discovers traces of lost kingdoms, ancient cultures, and modes of existence. He digs, exposes layers in the ground, and plunges into the depths of territorial domains in order to learn about the lives of the deceased. The archeologist who seeks to reconstruct the whole from the parts exposes the details, collects item by item, and binds them piece to piece. His discovery reveals buildings that were drenched with darkness and attaches an ad hoc narrative to them, situating them within what looks like a coherent frame. This coherence, however, is fragile; it is the story we tell in order to make sense in the face of a total destruction. What story does Shenhav's installation suggest? How does this story connect not only ruins of a city that "can be anywhere" but also parts of different narratives and particular histories, private and collective biographies? And finally, what characterizes the structure--poetically and visually--of this story?

As Walter Benjamin shows in his essay on the German tragic drama, the archeological site can also function as inspiration for a way of thinking, narrating, and writing that poses a challenge to the historiographic testimony: "When, as is the case in the Trauerspiel, history becomes part of the setting, it does so as script. The word 'history' stands written on the countenance of nature in the characters of transience. The allegorical physiognomy of nature-history, which is put on stage in the Trauerspiel, is present in reality in the form of the ruin." (7) The allegory of the tragic drama is a poetry that searches for a way of listening to that which cannot be heard immediately or entirely, quantified and classified with scientific apparatus, and organized into reasonable categories. It does not provide a logical explanation and does not endeavor to exchange one thing for another. Allegory does not withdraw into the identical but allows moments of proximity, closeness, the simultaneous appearance of a thing and its opposite as evidence of a complex experience filled with contradictions: "The legacy of antiquity constitutes, item for item, the elements from which the new whole is mixed. Or rather: is constructed. For the perfect vision of this new phenomenon was the ruin. The exuberant subjection of antique elements in a structure which, without uniting them in a single whole, would, in destruction, still be superior to the harmonies of antiquity, is the purpose of the technique which applies itself separately, and ostentatiously, to realia, rhetorical figures and rules." (8) The ruins are understood within a historical process of collapse and defeat. In this sense, the ruin is an intersection of time and space; it embodies, in part, what was and what it used to be as a whole.

Benjamin's phrasing repeatedly stresses that allegory is a focal point from which to look at things. Allegory is the experience par excellence, as "it discloses the truth of the world far more than the fleeting glimpses of wholeness attained in the romantic symbol." (9) The transformation of the ruin into a poetic model demonstrates a form of response to a past event, which allows a unique kind of cultural memory. Benjamin refers to a mode of representation that inscribes the structure of destruction into an aesthetic constellation of fractures. This poetics of fractures rejects, therefore, any kind of oblivion; it is a texture that interferes with a harmonious appearance and challenges constructs of perfection, which renders the fragment in its nature as a fragment, even though it relies on other parts. In so doing, the German tragic drama demands that its spectators witness an absence or a deficiency that refuses to be filled--a bleeding wound that will never heal. The fragment, a cut, or a tear that refuses to heal continues to testify to and, at the same time, to yearn for the loss, which is melancholy. (10)

How could such yearning, which intensively engages with the past, be progressive? In what sense, if at all, does melancholy manifest a political act? As I intend to show, in Shenhav's paintings and art installations, the damaged body, the cut-down tree, the image of the glass shard or the broken stone, and the piece of sponge are all irreparable, yet they refuse to dwell on past sorrows.


States of negation reverberate through the titles of the works chosen by Shenhav for the installation. This is how I interpret Rest, a condition that lacks dynamism, and Crystal as glass lead, or inanimate crystal that estranges itself from processes of growth. The piece End of the Forest, the continuation or completion of an earlier piece entitled Dog, suggests an absence of life. These names or objects can be contextualized through allusions to the bronze etchings of Albrecht Durer, a German Renaissance artist who lived in Nuremberg for most of his life. In an etching called Melencolia I (1514), the figure of a woman wrapped in wings sits bent over and still, with an expression of hopelessness and despair on her blackened face. At her side, a whining dog lies on the ground, as well as a crystal cast (a huge stone polyhedron) and a pot (in which a fire is burning and something is boiling in a trihedral vessel). (11) Melancholia, Durer's angel-woman, holds a compass in her hand without making use of it. This uselessness contrasts with the animation conveyed through the admiration of craft and science. In the same way, pieces of wood and carving, sanding and finishing tools lie abandoned at her feet, possibly functioning as evidence of the downfall of the Renaissance man. This "new man" embodied the pathos of trial and error and the practicalities of quantification, classification, and shaping of material and form, the pretension of man's dominance over nature. The etching connects despondent and hopeless drawings generated from inanimate objects with architectural, geometrical, and mathematical scenarios or mystical configurations and measuring devices. They are all a part of the same, extremely early, negative prophecy concerning the false promise of the world of technology.

In early twentieth-century art history, Melencolia I became the quintessential scholarly enigma, or rebus, upon whose hermeneutical deciphering a clear understanding of Renaissance humanism seemed to rest. Nevertheless, it points out the dialectic nature of the discourses of science and reason, as we later meet in Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment. (12) In that sense, Durer's sixteenth-century critical visualization of technology, conveyed through his melancholic figuration, envelops the horrific reality of the twentieth century that exploded with the two world wars.

German aesthetics of calamity has its own history, of course, and the expression of melancholy in art has many facets. One example is the paintings of the forest by Romanticism's notable German artist of sorrow, Caspar David Friedrich. Such are the recurring images he painted of ancient, quivering, wilting trees, frightening and devoid of foliage at the sight of the winter. Another example is the image of ruins in the series Abbey in the Oakwood (1809-10), a gothic ruin entrenched between bare trunks protruding from the ground. One witnesses proof in the form of inanimate objects, portraying conditions of cultural decay and the longing for a heroic past." Friedrich's images of the forest are committed to concealing part of the terror that accompanies European nadonal anecdotes and folktales (Kunstmdrchen), insinuating these encounters, which take place far from the city and from the law, within the range of the predator, hidden from the eye. The European forest, according to the tales of the Brothers Grimm, for example, is the dwelling place of witches or wolves who lurk around tender children. It is a sinister, irrational arena, one of urges and lusts that cannot be suppressed by the hand of wisdom. And there is also a clearing in the navel of the forest, emptied of trees, which becomes a space that gives rise to the question of being.

This image of the clearing invites an additional perspective on Shenhav's work. I suggest that the Israeli artist summons the viewer to the "bald spot of the forest" by offering insight into hidden layers, those which were sanctified and repressed in the narrative spaces that extend between Europe and the Middle East, between Germany and Israel. But it is possible to continue a while longer and wander through paths filled with inanimate objects, trees, and stones, arriving at another site of melancholic correspondence--the works of Anselm Kiefer, a German artist who refers to Durer and Friedrich in order to create an artistic language that responds to the catastrophe of the Second World War. Kiefer ties the colossal destruction and ruin to criticism of science and hypertechnological environments, interweaving myth and history. (14) This is expressed in Melancholia (1990-91), which presents an inanimate object, a plane made of lead with a crystal tetrahedron (a visual allusion to Durer's polyhedron) gripping its left wing, veiling a clue to the bombings of the cities and the horror of the atomic bomb. (15) Above the wings, one can trace a dried straw of poppy seeds, a sign of a decayed organism associated with dual meanings: the memorable color of blood as connected with pain and injury, on the one hand, and the oblivion and ease of the pain generated by the use of opium, on the other--a natural history of destruction.

This journey leads to W. G. Sebald, a German author who was born in Wertach but immigrated to England in his twenties. In his 1997 lectures, published as hufikrieg und Literatur (1999) and excerpted in the New Yorker in 2002 as "A Natural History of Destruction," Sebald unveils a taboo regarding the bombing of German cities by the Allies during the Second World War: "The destruction, on a scale without historical precedent, entered the annals of the nation, as it set about rebuilding itself, only in the form of vague generalizations. It seems to have left scarcely a trace of pain behind in the collective consciousness." (16) Sebald refers to Solly Zuckerman, "who visited the ravaged city of Cologne at the earliest possible opportunity, [and] may have had a premonition of this deficiency." (17) On his return to London, Zuckerman was still overwhelmed by what he had seen and agreed to write a report for Horizon, but "nothing came of this project. 'My first view of Cologne cried out for a more eloquent piece than I could ever have written.'" (18) When, in the 1980s, Sebald "questioned Lord Zuckerman on the subject, he could no longer remember what he wanted to say at the time. All that remained in his mind was the image of the blackened cathedral rising from the stony desert around it and the memory of a severed finger that he had found on a heap of rubble." (19)

Sebald asks how such a natural history of destruction ought to begin and seems to provide an answer outside of his lectures. By testifying to the horrific disaster conveyed through the ruins and the amputated limbs, his literary work endows the natural history of destruction with content and form. (20) This work, however, avoids and withholds from the reader the pretension and reconciliation embedded in an explanatory logic. It demonstrates an extensive employment of visual images such as photographs, paintings, and other kinds of drawing and sketching. Yet what seems to heighten a sense and accuracy associated with historical documentation challenges this issue by suggesting alternative modes of narrating and remembering.


As opposed to his essays, which deal directly with questions of trauma, guilt, and shame and which blame German authors for their inability to account for the devastation and suffering generated by the war, Sebald's fiction does not explain anything. It points to natural conditions that have deviated from their seemingly natural course and now appear as foreign, deformed objects. These objects manifest in wild growth threatening the hub of industrialized, modernized living in the fields of trade and technology, in ports and train stations, as evidence of that which does not deny or hide the implications of catastrophe.

Sebald's prose, which intensively intersperses visual images throughout the verbal text, investigates the lives of Jewish and non-Jewish emigrants from Germany and Austria in the twentieth century. It follows the ploys of the exiled and the expelled, wandering in abandoned yards and in huge derelict buildings, which are remnants of a fallen empire, a false promise. Sebald invites the reader to walk through neglected cemeteries, between gravestones covered with weeds, another form of organism and nature. This distraction is read in a tree trunk, which deviates from its natural dimensions, or in an uncultivated field, which stretches as far as the eye can see, as well as in the collapse and destruction of technological cultures, of spectacular advanced communities, and a humanity that betrayed itself. Sebald's narrators are attracted to static conditions submerged in broken stones, in tree stumps, and in people (literary characters) who internalized the melancholy of defeat into silence, paralysis, and blindness.

The novella "Max Ferber" from The Emigrants (1992) tells of such a character, Ferber, a German Jew who escaped the Nazis during the children's transport in 1938. Immersed in rituals of compulsive repetition, he keeps drawing figures with clay, covering and exposing, casting and excavating that which can no longer be spoken of:
Time and again, at the end of a working day, I marveled to see that
Ferber, with a few lines and shadows that had escaped annihilation, had
created a portrait of great vividness. And all the more did I marvel,
when the following morning, the moment the model had sat down and he
had taken a look at him or her, he would erase the portrait yet again,
and once more set about excavating the feature of his model, who by now
was distinctly wearied by this manner of working, from a surface
already badly damaged by a continual destruction. The facial features
and eyes, said Ferber, remained ultimately unknowable for him. (21)

Just before he dies, Ferber gives his acquaintance, the narrator, the diary of his mother, who was murdered by the Nazis in 1942. Apparently, he is asking the narrator to write or tell his story. The latter fails to do so, as his writing lacks coherence, duration, and completion: "I had covered hundreds of pages with my scribble, in pencil and ballpoint. By far the greater part had been crossed out, discarded, or obliterated by additions. Even what I ultimately salvaged as a 'final' version seemed to me a thing of shreds and patches, utterly botched." (22) Additionally, the narrator's inability to put Ferber's haunting story on paper reverberates with Ferber's own inability to create his mother's image on the canvas. These representational crises, inscribed in the characters' failure to bear witness to that which is no longer present, demonstrate the limits of both verbal and visual languages in the face of catastrophe. (23) It seems, however, that Sebald succeeds where his narrator fails. Is this really the case, or perhaps the melancholy that locks Ferber's story into his own fantasy and prevents it from coming to light, still projects its dark shadow on Sebald's novella as well?

The impact of Sebald's prose and the issues it raises is felt in Shenhav's work. What happens, however, to the natural history of destruction in the work of a female Israeli artist? How does she process her reflections on the two extremely different historical events that she insists on locating in the same aesthetic space of the exhibition: the murderous attack on Jews on Kristallnacht in 1938 and battles associated with the Second Lebanon War in 2006? Furthermore, how does Shenhav indicate, internalize, and differentiate herself from the narrative of war delineated in Israel? How is she able to digress from the melancholy that locks both the creator and the spectator in the past and return to the political present? In an attempt to answer these questions, I will focus first on Shenhav's End of the Forest, which reveals to those visiting the exhibition the end of an earlier piece, Dog.

Dog (fig. 2) displays conditions of dying and the destruction of nature: the trees in the forest are still planted in their original place, but they have lost their vigor. There is no evidence of growth or leaves, only damaged, shaved, and amputated organisms. The trunks are distorted, resembling growth that lacks grace, stretching out broken arms and fingers that point to the disaster. Shavings pile up on the floor with sharp edges. Scraps of material can be seen, some placed in a construction of sorts, some heaped in a mess--all so different from the vitality of the black forest. The colors of the trunks are bright, shades of brown, yellow, and white. A dog is lying in the bald spot of the forest like a still life, a kind of corpse. His head leans on the ground, the leash tied to his neck is wound around one of the trees. Next to it is a bowl of water. The dog is not yet dead and can be saved. The end has not been determined. (24) What hidden story is contained in this forest? How will it end? To which experience does it belong? How does its appearance differ from other forests, not necessarily European but rather in Israel or Palestine? Is there eucalyptus, which the European Jewish immigrants (pioneers) planted in the first decades of the twentieth century in order to dry out the swamps and fight malaria? Or maybe an olive tree, which the Palestinians grow on their land? What does the eye "facing the forests" see?

Traces of an abandoned village and abomination are revealed to the forest scout in the novella "Facing the Forests" (1963) by the Israeli writer Avraham B. Yehoshua. The protagonist is a haunted student, who was assigned to protect the forests before he abused his position. He escapes from the hectic city to the solitude of the forest on Mount Carmel in order to achieve a breakthrough, to make a discovery in his research on the Crusades, which he has failed to complete. A Palestinian who cares for the firewatcher's needs becomes his mute listener: "He tells him about the Crusade... about the fervor, about the cruelty, about the Jews committing suicide, about the children's Crusade; things he has picked up from the books, the unfounded theories he has framed himself." (25) Nevertheless, a discovery does take place, although in a different direction from what he expected. The set is the same, yet the actors have changed. Remnants of an Arab village are revealed to the fire watcher after the trees in the forest, which covered them, go up in flames: "There, out of the smoke, out of the haze, a ruined village appeared before his eyes, born anew in its basic outlines as an abstract drawing, as all things past and buried." (26) The shadows of the horrific past are rising and surfacing from the void of forgetfulness, breaching the silence of the survivor who caused the fire. The ghosts of a collective memory return as a distortion from forgotten, repressed planes, embodied in the figure of the person in charge of the forests.

In Yehoshua's novella, the survivor of a disaster bound up with the events of the 1948 war is an old Palestinian who cannot speak his sorrow: "His tongue was cut out during the war. By one of them or one of us? Does it matter? Who knows what the last words were that stuck in his throat?" (27) The cruel violation that keeps him silent about his own trauma reverberates with another historical trauma, that of the Jews attacked by the Crusaders. The lines between victims and perpetrators, Christians, Jews, Muslims, blend within the framework of this Israeli novella. The Palestinian's muteness is also symbolic, however, as his language, Arabic, is silenced in the Hebrew text. (28) His secret leaks throughout the Hebrew. As in the case of Sebald, the victims cannot testify for themselves. Their testimony is delivered and mediated by other characters, breaching its way through the barriers of language--the language of the Other.

Returning to Dog, this piece possesses its own spirits as they peer, nameless, through the surface of the objects. Shenhav allows the objects to perform. She does not explain the meaning of the cut-down tree or the lifeless pose of the dog, which converses with representations of grief-stricken conditions in various aesthetic traditions. The question remains as an examination of a possibility, an artistic touch that responds to traumatic experience. The trauma is conveyed through footprints of a reality that was shaped, among other things, as an ethos of growth and prosperity and was tied to ideological forestation projects, at times for the purpose of concealment and denial of destruction and ruin. This reality is reflected in End of the Forest (fig. 3), which narrates, as already mentioned, the end of Dog. For now, the trees are completely severed, extracted from their organic habitat, the forest. The destruction has a wise, restrained appearance, almost clean: the still-life limbs of the tree are placed in bundles, relative to their size and type, arranged and indexed according to quantitative parameters. The work tools, which became tools for flattening (a saw, an electrical saw, a dagger) appear as a metonymic clue to what has happened--residues of destruction destined to disappear with the sweeps of a broom assigned to clean the yard. Recalling Caspar David Friedrich's abbey revealed in the midst of the German oak forest, here it takes a while longer, as one has to make an effort to trace the damaged ruins. The brushed appearance that Shenhav gives her forest is illusive, playing tricks on the observer as a part of the game that is over. Moreover, the correspondence with Albrecht Durer's still-life tools (saw, plane, sanding tools, and finishing tools for wood) reminds the observer of the despair and lack of content conveyed through the Renaissance angel-woman's hopeless condition. The sorrowful prophecy inherent in the destructive potential of progress and the passion for reason comes into being as a horrific reality. This embodiment of the Western conquering of nature transformed into conquering of the Other--a human life--is later transfigured in the work of Anselm Kiefer on the catastrophe of the Second World War that encapsulates in the crystal polyhedron the demonic power of technology.

Yet again, one can wonder what exactly has happened in End of the Forest and how the dark shades reflect nightfall and the end of the journey. And if the petrified state of the forest is a response to those images of reality, the components that culminate in the Israeli identity, what then is the nature of this end? What is the thing that had just come to an end? Perhaps this is the completion of the flickering promise in Crystal (which is positioned in the gallery in close proximity to End of the Forest), according to which the fate of the Jews in Europe--exclusion, violence, and bloodshed--is determined. For these people, feeling and being at home in Europe became impossible, a promise broken after revealing, once again, that the home can also harbor calamity.

The consequences of destruction erupt in Crystal (fig. 4), a series of works in color, variations on two photographs of synagogues that were set on fire and destroyed on the night of November 9-10, 1938. In a pogrom that came to be known as Kristallnacht, almost all the synagogues in Germany and across the Third Reich were ruined, numerous cemeteries demolished, and businesses destroyed. Thousands of Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Crystal refers to an event in the Jewish German collective consciousness and the private biography, which is now summoned into the visual work of a female Israeli artist. In the foreground of the first historical photograph from Kristallnacht, one sees the skeleton of a seven-branched menorah (Jewish candelabrum) with blackened wooden and iron boards scattered around and behind it. Shattered stones cover the floor, pieces of a sooty, dull, collapsed building, a ruin that used to function as a hall of prayer: a Jewish synagogue. In the second photograph, the synagogue remains erect on its mound, yet on its facade, a Star of David relief is already in flames. Fire takes hold of other sections of the building, whose dome can no longer be seen, as it is engulfed in rising smoke and soot. The series of paintings presents an abstract texture, formal compositions, variations on subject matter, copies and revisions arranging themselves by an affinity to the material stated in the title of the work. Crystal is a form of glass that enables a break-up of light, reflections and duplicates. It is material that was associated with prophecy and fortune-telling qualities in great ancient myths.

The series of images reflect the characteristics of the material: a light blue background that changes into purple, white, pink, and red. In the background, one can see black outlines of a partial object. Blue marks are seen on geometric configurations, or a color drip culminating in remarkably aesthetic pictures, some particularly clean. The black outlines allude to a domed building. The building is stripped of typical Jewish characteristics. The synagogue is present, yet only in the sense of a hint that requires a filling of gaps, like the activation of the title Crystal (as fractures and shards of glass) in the context of the piece. Shenhav effaces and conceals the Star of David and the seven-branched menorah that appear in the photographs. This is exemplified in a painting where a Star of David is traced in a suggestive manner into the apex of a dome, against a red background (different from its location in the photograph), with no clear way of recognizing it. In the painting, which has a light blue background, the menorah is split in two, and the branches--thin, rounded lines--are integrated into the clouds of smoke.

Stories of the destroyed synagogues are also stories belonging to European Jews. Shenhav's pieces do not deny that. They do, however, attempt to avoid entrapment within a closed discourse of national identities. Consequently, the objects are presented in the paintings in parts, demanding the viewer to compensate for the absent, extend the lines, connect the dots. The only totality is that of the destruction, which takes place beyond ethnic, religious, or national categories. The destruction is set in stone. And the stone is drenched with blood. Red and purple stains, which reoccur in all the paintings, appear to fill out the entire picture plane in the last piece. Unlike the nature of the document provided by the archival photographs, the series Crystal presents the catastrophe through that which is absent or hinted at. Here, we do not witness the camera's technological precision but rather the painterly hand, which no longer trusts the seemingly objective representation of the event. It is the hand that reiterates Shenhav's choice to interpret, to independently affix details on paper, monitoring the changes, the hand assigned to recall, but in a different way, the date: November of 1938.


In July 2006, the reentry of Israeli soldiers into Lebanon marked the end of summer--the summer of the Second Lebanon War. That summer had commenced with the kidnapping of soldiers and murder, the bombardment of Israeli settlements, the bombing of villages in southern Lebanon, occupation, ingrained destruction, hopeless battles, murder, and more murder. Which narrative could relate these events of 1938 and 2006? Are these dates arranged on a single vector stretched between Europe and Israel--a vector describing Jewish catastrophes, a chronicle of the victims of exile, annihilation, and sacrifice, which is now reflected in another reincarnation of the biblical story of the sacrifice of the son by his father, Isaac by Abraham? But perhaps we are dealing with a few contradictory vectors along which different stories of crimes and defeats, despair and helplessness, are unfolded?

Rest, the third work of Shenhav installed in the gallery space in Tel Aviv in 2008, suggests an answer to these questions. The work demonstrates an attempt to put a figure and a face to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The face that Shenhav selects is made of sponge. To some extent, this piece embodies the essence of the dialogue conducted in the earlier series, Game Over (fig. 5). Created in light of the explosive reality of the Second Intifada and the violent events that preceded it, the series focuses on intersections and confrontational boundaries between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians. Even in the earlier works, the spongy figures lead the viewer astray, with exaggerated dimensions and extreme gestures. The material absorbs and continues to absorb that which cannot be absorbed: blood, fire, loss, and pain, but also guilt.

The figures in Game Over (doppelgangers that she produced by observing journalistic photographs, television, and war films, frozen in a state of motion) and the manner in which they freeze (arrested and dumbfounded) are terrifying. In four of the five pictures one can see pairs, for example, the exaggerated, stereotypical image of Palestinian civilians wearing jeans and black leather jackets, macabre figures who point slingshots toward a hidden target outside the frame. The observer of the picture becomes the target itself. The sponge mosaic exaggerates the representation of the broken stones, the bricks of a ruined house, against a backdrop of clouds of fire and smoke. The Palestinian flag flutters from the wall, peers and flickers from the "heart" of a Palestinian gripping a slingshot. And in another image from the series, two Israeli soldiers wear khaki uniforms, one bent inward, maybe kneeling, maybe bowing his head in a prayer-like gesture, as if pleading to control the fall, his face obscured. The mosaic fragments are reddened by the blood from his wound, behind him an allusion to a stone wall--perhaps the Western Wall, a reminder of the Old Jewish Temple before it was destroyed. In the fourth image, an Israeli soldier grabs a hostage. The soldier, who is "caught in action," perseveres in the act; his facial expression is sealed, his eyes concealed by black sunglasses, a helmet on his head. The hands of the capturer and the captured are intertwined, like the hands of doppelgangers, a connecting point so deep that it cannot be released or erased. The point reddens to the extent that one cannot distinguish between one's blood and the other's. A shadow is seen in the background: metonymy of a barrel of a gun, or a phallic suggestion, homoerotic. In this sense, Game Over also exposes something of a demonic dance that has gotten out of control. The demons are reflected, seen and unseen, in the final image of the series, which presents two black figures skipping in Hell, one pointing the barrel of a rifle at his companion. This is the end of a role-playing game; the boundaries have been breached and crossed, chaos reigns supreme.

Rest (fig. 6), too, is a sponge mosaic piece based on a newspaper photograph that documents a group of soldiers during the Second Lebanon War. This photograph from an Israeli newspaper immortalizes the soldiers as they sit together carrying their mobile phones, with their rifles strapped to their bodies. Only their heads are exposed; it is unclear whether their helmets are attached to them or have been placed by their sides, apart from one soldier still wearing his. They gaze into the distance, to points outside the frame. The eyes of one soldier in the foreground are hidden behind the strap of a backpack. He holds a cigarette in his hand. The others grip their rifles. What is reflected in their eyes? What do their gestures conceal? Is it exhaustion? Anticipation or tension, sadness or fear, or maybe embarrassment: thoughts about home, about a friend from their unit, about a girl, about death, or maybe a thought no longer lives in their bodies? The bodies of the soldiers are subject to a state of stillness.

The mosaic piece does not provide a clear response or explanation. It functions with and against the photograph, copies and interferes with the sorrowful condition of Israeli soldiers who shelter on the verge, at the entrances to a village in southern Lebanon. The soldiers are limp, spongy. Their bodies aren't heroic but rather devoid of Eros or even homoerotic lust. Their look deviates from the outlines which define the "Zionist body," sinking into states of stillness, deforming any appearance of nature, a blurred landscape, weeded, unfamiliar. (29) "The natural history of destruction" obtains a new dimension here: the living organism intermingles with nature, becomes a wild growth, odd and frightening. That is the grotesque extremity of "the living-dead," a symbol of the national Jewish imagination. (30) Shaped within the formal rituals of commemoration, this symbol endows the death of soldiers, usually very young, with an explanation and therefore a meaning. They sacrificed their lives for the nation. Their bodies are absent, yet they are present by transitioning into the collective body of the nation.

These poetic forms of the living-dead (the return of the dead within the national body) appear in a whole repertoire written in response to the 1948 war and the events that preceded it. In Nathan Alterman's canonic poem "The Silver Platter" (1947), a surreal scene demonstrates "a maid and a youth" returning from the battlefield and slowly pacing toward the nation: "Infinitely weary, withdrawn from rest, / dripping with the dew of Hebrew youth / quietly the two approach / then stand motionless / and there is no sign whether they yet live or have been shot." (31) Their appearance becomes a site of revelation (a "miracle") and identification; as these two softly answer the nation "flooded by tears and wonderment," they become "the silver platter / upon which was served to you the Jewish State." (32)

Voices of dead soldiers are also heard in Haim Gouri's poem written in response to the events preceding the 1948 war: "Behold our bodies are laid out, a long row, and we are not breathing." The speaking "us" imagine their return from the dead in the form of flowers: "We will still come back, we will meet, and return like red flowers," blossoming within the nation's collective spirit. Here, as well, the poetic space becomes a site of revelation that conveys the national imagination: "You will recognize us at once, as the voiceless Mountain Platoon. / Then we will blossom. When the scream of the last shot shall have fallen to silence in the mountains." (33)

In Shenhav's art, however, the reflected imagination is different. It isn't this symbol of fallen youth who return from the dead as blossom flowers--carrying a metaphysical promise, consolation--that one sees in Rest, but the shock within feeble expressions, extinguished, which deprives the images of a "beautiful death." Shenhav insists on allegory instead of giving in to the comforting symbol. In her work, there are no reminders of Hebrew youth or blossoming red flowers. The only redness is that which is reflected from a bloody mouth, a blemished, horrifying mouth. The lips of the soldier in the center of the piece are emphasized, attaining a life of their own. They change into an autonomous limb, provoking horror, an organ that challenges and interferes with the organic perfection of the body. This perfection is split by the black straps of the backpacks, which stretch from one soldier to his deputy, affixing the body that is tied to the altar, like chains obscuring the difference between the sacrifice and he who sacrifices it. The binder and the bound. One of the straps lies on the head of one of the soldiers in the foreground, blinding his eyes. This blindness reflects the opacity of a mechanism that has lost its spark. The shutting of the eyes of a huge symbolic body that sheds the blood of the Other as well as his own blood--the blood of his children. And one can return for a brief moment to the European biography, in which the invitation to walk the paths of destruction requires walking back and forth. Such are the exaggerations of the limbs, the distortions of the organs, the expressiveness of the facial features, which contain a reference to the expressionistic style of the avant-garde and German aesthetic modernism during and after the First World War. The figures of the soldiers in shades of green khaki, brown, and black digress from their humanness, from their local, national identity.

Unlike Game Over, which attaches a historical and local context to the violence that is embedded in the icon of the flag, Rest excludes distinct national signifiers. Even the figures presented in the earlier piece as captured (hostages) with combative gestures, entrapped within the dialectic of inanimate states, do not fight in the later work. But that which is seemingly lacking in the piece bursts out of the static nature of the soldiers, out of the momentary suspension, while resting on the border of the field of conflict. In both cases, the dissonant representation associated with twentieth-century aesthetic traditions, such as the montage or the collage, is amplified due to a subversive use of the mosaic technique. Shenhav uses this technique in the soldier pieces through an extreme application and an emphasis on the lines joining and separating the parts of the mosaic. From here, it is not the harmonious appearance of the whole, the symbol, but rather the shred cut by the lines, like a gap that refuses to be filled within the allegorical representation, that continues to interrupt the picture. Puncturing the eye of the beholder is the static condition of the Israeli soldiers, with stories of suffering, shame, and guilt, with the grief and defeat of the summer of 2006. Through the fractures that refuse to be restored as a coherent whole, other narratives reappear, those hidden by felled trees and the ruins of destroyed houses.

Shenhav's felled trees conceal something of the "woodblock" (bul'ez) of Avot Yeshurun, a Jewish poet who immigrated from Krasnystaw, Poland, to Erez Yisra'el in 1925. His parents, who remained in Europe, were murdered in the Holocaust. Yeshurun's poems work through this trauma by reframing the witnessing of past events in the history of earlier disasters. In his "Poem on the Guilt" (1974), written in response to the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel and a coalition of Arab countries led by Egypt and Syria, the poet links together different events. He condenses and mingles Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the anxiety of the bereavement resulting from war, and the guilt about the repression of the Shoah in Europe. (34) The speaker poetically tells of the traditional European shtetls that were destroyed. The destruction and ruins are powerfully embedded in and conveyed through Yeshurun's deconstructed language. He uses the visual image of the crashing towns and, within them, a dead child, a mother, and a faceless father: "Bless mother circle your hand around my head on the night / Of this day. I would have what would I have done / to Yom Kippur. Shtetls crash and you inside for the center / Of the earth." (35)

What will he, the poet who survived, do with the guilt? How can one bear it? Here is another perspective joining the others, another story among complex, multilayered stories. Yeshurun's poems oscillate between events that occurred in Europe and in the Middle East in a hybrid language that interweaves Yiddish, Hebrew, and Arabic. Fractures in life experience and losses of memory convey the trauma and horror of the catastrophe. They reveal the different sides of suffering by means of a crossbred language that refuses to heal and become whole. So, too, is Yeshurun's "woodblock" the poetic embodiment of an organic, natural rift or fracture. It is already planted in another domain, no longer Europe, but Israel, and it isn't the forest, but a municipal garden, clean, very clean actually: the backyard of a house, perhaps in Tel Aviv.

"The House" (1990) is both the title and the theme of one of Yeshurun's long poems, in which the hometown, "krasnystaw house," reverberates with the old houses in the city of migration: "in tel aviv I loved houses / till they were destroyed / & built anew / i'm sorry they've destroyed / the old i'Ve forgotten / if i forget thee / krasnystaw house." (36) The poet alludes to a biblical Psalm that refers to the destruction of the Jewish Temple. In the Bible, the destruction is implied through the act of remembrance. It is conveyed through the moral commandment of recalling the holy city, a metonymy of the temple: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem / let my right hand forget her cunning" (Ps. 137:5). Yeshurun transforms the holy capital city into a secular, urban city--not Jerusalem but Tel Aviv, not a sacred public place (temple) but a personal nonsa-cred space (house). How then to remember that which is no longer? The destruction encourages forgetfulness, while the building of a new house advances oblivion. Yeshurun knows this only too well. He therefore chooses to situate the felled tree trunk in a clean yard, infusing it into the words of the poem, like a strange verbal cloning, nature (green tree) returning as an exaggerated growth. For what is there in a felled tree? A fracture of a tree, speaking--silencing its deficit--an inanimate testimony that does not deny destructive conditions.


We can now ask: What can one make of a fallen tree? And what is the meaning of an immobile dog lying in a forest clearing? What remains after the destruction of a house? And what power do the soldiers, whose portraits have vanished or who have been made into landscape paintings, possess? Through these and other questions, I tried to observe and read Shenhav's works--that is to say, her autobiographic narrative in pictorial terms, which demonstrate a thorough correspondence between different cultural traditions and life stories, Jewish and German, Israeli and European. As conveyed through the pieces in the 2008 exhibition in Tel Aviv (fig. 7), Shenhav, an Israeli artist, merges separate narratives by situating them within a single space, close to one another. This is a gathering based on proximity in an arena that challenges the viewer to think of every event separately, for and against the event taking place in close proximity: a destroyed Jewish synagogue, a ruined Palestinian village, expulsion, violence, and oppression of the Other. The link between the events is not based on identity. It is not a causative or chronological link, nor is it a discursive one, and it does not derive meaning of this kind. It is also not a historical link but rather an aesthetic and an ethical one.

Shenhav's work guides the viewer through paths of destruction that derive inspiration from visual and poetic traditions in Germany and Israel. She follows Benjamin's allegory that subverts any false promise of the classical symbol. Her sponge mosaic, like the modernist avant-garde techniques of the montage, keeps the fragments from becoming a comforting, harmonious whole. Along these paths, allusions to the melancholic shadows of Durer, Friedrich, and Kiefer are revealed, embodying the dialectic of reason, nature versus technology. Shenhav infuses them by reflecting and creating her own history of natural destruction. Facing a present turmoil, Shenhav's aesthetic response does not forget the past. Her visual art reflects and, at the same time, challenges the melancholic poetics of Sebald and Yehoshua, conveys and undermines the national imagination shaped in Gouri and Alterman, and reverberates with the hybrid verse, a dissonant lullaby heard from Yeshurun's house.

Shenhav's work guides the viewer through paths of destruction that eventually lead to the home. And in so doing, they obligate one to take ethical responsibility. Thus, the images of the felled trees (End of the Forest), isles of ruins from bleeding stones (Crystal), and a grotesque, blemished mouth of a soldier and his doppelgangers (Rest) reject melancholic depression and self-forgetfulness. Her pieces condense different national and geographic boundaries as immanent components of a hybrid "autobiographical narrative in pictorial terms." By refusing to play the game, which put these tensions to rest, Shenhav's pieces keep revealing the fragments that terrorize the clean, coherent appearance of ideology: when the game is over, a visual poetics emerges of catastrophe ingrained in live memory.


(1.) Various critics mention Shenhav's preoccupation with the issue of destruction. See for example Rona Sela, "Dina Shenhav, Scenario, Gutman Art Museum, 2011," Rona Sela (website), accessed September 24, 2018,

(2.) Katz-Freiman, "Dina Shenhav," 2.

(3.) Quoted in "Portrait of Evil," Dina Shenhav (website), accessed September 7, 2018,

(4.) Timms and Schultz, "Pictorial Narrative," 219.

(5.) Timms and Schultz, "Pictorial Narrative," 223.

(6.) Shenhav, "Holocaust Second Generation."

(7.) Benjamin, Origin of German Tragic Drama, 177.

(8.) Benjamin, Origin of German Tragic Drama, 178-79.

(9.) Cowan, "Walter Benjamin's Theory," 112.

(10.) On the concept of melancholy in Benjamin's thought, see Hanssen, "Portrait of Melancholy."

(11.) For a description of the work, see Balus, "Durer's Melencolia I." On Diirer's interest in mathematics and geometry as part of his perspective and conceptualization of the relationships between artist and subjects, see Andrews, "Albrecht Durer's Personal Underweysung"

(12.) For the role of Diirer's Melencolia I in Walter Benjamin's Trauerspiel, about which Benjamin learned from art historians such as Erwin Panofsky, see Hanssen, "Portrait of Melancholy," 1000.

(13.) For a discussion of the role of allegory as a representational mode in Friedrich's paintings, see Kuzniar, "Temporality of Landscape."

(14.) See, for example, Huyssen's analysis of Kiefer's "Icarus--March Sand" (1981), which derives its strength from the tension between the terror of German history and the intense longing to get past it with the help of myth ("Anselm Kiefer," 43-44).

(15.) On Kiefer's visual reference to Durer's polyhedron, see Hyman, "Anselm Kiefer," 38-39.

(16.) Sebald, "Natural History of Destruction," 67.

(17.) Sebald, "Natural History of Destruction," 73.

(18.) Sebald, "Natural History of Destruction," 73.

(19.) Sebald, "Natural History of Destruction," 73.

(20.) On the interplay between image and text in Sebald's prose work, see Long, W. G. Sebald.

(21.) Sebald, Emigrants, 162.

(22.) Sebald, Emigrants, 230.

(23.) On the relationships between text and photographs in Sebald's The Emigrants, see Lisa Bourla, who shows how naming the figures documented in historical slides from the Lodz Ghetto, on the one hand, and the refusal to insert these photographs as visual images into the verbal text, on the other, play a role in shaping an alternative documentation, remembrance, and poetic testimony ("Shaping and Reshaping Memory," 63).

(24.) In a 2005 interview with Eitan Buganim on Nana 10, Shenhav referred to the source of inspiration of this installation: a friend of hers told her about the dozens of abandoned dogs he saw in forests around the world and how people leave the dogs bound to trees with some water and food. Sometimes, the dogs are saved by other people; other times, they just die in the forest. Elsewhere, Shenhav mentions people's violence and cruelty against animals as demonstrated in various ways of hunting. See, for example, Shenhav, "Horeget otam berakut."

(25.) Yehoshua, "Facing the Forests," 165.

(26.) Yehoshua, "Facing the Forests," 170.

(27.) Yehoshua, "Facing the Forests," 140.

(28.) See Laor, Anu kotvim otakh moledet.

(29.) On the metaphor of the Zionist body within the frameworks of Israeli prose, see Gluzman, Haguf hazioni.

(30.) Hannan Hever suggests a critical discussion and interpretation of the living-dead symbol in his book Suddenly, the Sight of War, esp. pt. 3, "Symbols of Death in the National War for Independence."

(31.) Alterman, "Silver Platter," 20-22.

(32.) Alterman, "Silver Platter," 22.

(33.) Gouri, "Behold, Our Bodies."

(34.) On witnessing the radicalization of poetic transmission in Yeshurun, see Lachman, "KtivatAdam (Homograph)," 45.

(35.) Translated by Lilach Lachman and Meir Sternberg, quoted in Lachman, "KtivatAdam (Homograph)," 47.

(36.) Yeshurun, "The House," 138.


Alterman, Nathan. "The Silver Platter" (Magash hakesef). In No Rattling of Sabers: An Anthology of Israeli WarPoetry, translated by Esther Raizen, 20-22. Austin: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 1995.

Andrews, Noam. "Albrecht Diirer's Personal Underweysung der Messung." Word & Image 32, no. 4 (2016): 409-29.

Balus, Wojciech. "Diirer's Melencolia I: Melancholy and the Undecidable." Artibus et Historiae 15, no. 30 (1994): 9-21.

Benjamin, Walter. The Origin of German TragicDrama. Translated by John Osborne. New York: Verso, 1998.

Bourla, Lisa. "Shaping and Reshaping Memory: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs." Word & Image 31, no. 1 (2015): 54-72.

Cowan, Bainard. "Walter Benjamin's Theory of Allegory." In Modernity, edited by Peter Osborne, 109-22. Vol. 2 of Walter Benjamin: Critical Evaluations in Cultural Theory. London: Routledge, 2005.

Gluzman, Michael. Haguf hazioni: Le'umiyut, migdar veminiyut besifrut ha'ivrit hahadashah [The Zionist body: Nationalism, gender and sexuality in modern Hebrew literature]. Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 2007.

Gouri, Haim. "Behold, Our Bodies Are Laid Out" ("Hineh mutalot gufoteinu"). In No Rattling of Sabers: An Anthology of Israeli War Poetry, translated by Esther Raizen, 4-6. Austin: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 1995.

Hanssen, Beatrice. "Portrait of Melancholy (Benjamin, Warburg, Panofsky)." MEN114, no. 5 (1999): 991-1013.

Hever, Hannan. Suddenly, the Sight of Wan Violence and Nationalism in Hebrew Poetry in the 1940s. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016.

Huyssen, Andreas. "Anselm Kiefer: The Terror of History, the Temptation of Myth." October, vol. 48 (1989): 25-45.

Hyman, James. "Anselm Kiefer as Printmaker - II: Alchemy and the Woodcut, 1993-1999." Print Quarterly 17, no. 1 (2000): 26-42.

Katz-Freiman, Tami. "Dina Shenhav: D.O.A.: Contextualizing Hunting." Translated by Talya Halkin. Small Format 5 (2015). http://www.dinashenhavxom/documents/F723183.pdf.

Kuzniar, Alice A. "The Temporality of Landscape: Romantic Allegory in C. D. Friedrich." Studies in Romanticism 28, no. 1 (1989): 69-93.

Lachman, Lilach. "Ktivat-Adam (Homograph): Avot Yeshurun, The Long Poem, and Poetic Historiography." Dibur Literaty Journal, no. 4 (2017): 39-52.

Laor, Yitzhak. Anu kotvim otakh moledet: Masot at sifrut yisra'elit [Narratives with No Natives: Essays on Hebrew Literature). Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1995.

Long, J.J. W. G. Sebald: Image, Archive, Modernity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

Sebald, W. G. The Emigrants. Translated by Michael Hulse. London: Harvill, 1999.

--. Luftkrieg und Eiteratur: Mit einem Essay zu Alfred Andersch. Fischer Verlag, 1999.

--. "A Natural History of Destruction." Translated by Anthea Bell. New Yorker, November 4, 2002, 66-77.

Shenhav, Dina. "Holocaust Second Generation Visual Artists." Interview by Hily Harel. Accessed March 2017.

--. "Horeget otam berakut: Ha'amanit shemefaselet et ha'alimut ha'enoshit bisfog" [Killing them softly: The artist who sculpts human violence in sponge]. Interview by Reut Barnea. Calcalist, November 16, 2016.,7340,L-3701922,00.html

Timms, Edward, and Debora Schultz. "Pictorial Narrative as the Art of Crises: Purity, Hybridity and Representation." Word &' Image 24, no. 3 (2008): 219-23.

Yehoshua, A. B. "Facing the Forests." In Three Days and a Child, translated by Miriam Arad, 131-174. New York: Doubleday, 1970.

Yeshurun, Avot. "The House" ("Habayit"). Translated by Ariel Resnikoff. Dibur Literary Journal, no. 4 (2017): 125-59.

--. Milvad'atah: Mipfiar shirim, 1934-1991 [Milvadata: Selected Poems, 1934-1991]. Edited by Halit Yeshurun and Lilach Lachman. Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2009.


Michal Ben-Horin is a senior lecturer and since 2017 the head of the Department of Comparative Literature at Bar-Ilan University, focusing on comparative readings of modern Jewish and German literatures, memory poetics after the Holocaust, aesthetics, and critical theory. In addition to Musical Biographies: The Music of Memory in Post-1945 German Literature (De Gruyter, 2016), her publications include essays in University of Pennsylvania Press and Brill titles and in the journals German Life and Letters, Weimarer Beitrage, and Israel Studies Forum, among others, that explore visual and acoustic representations in works of literature. She is currently working on bilingualism and autotranslation of Israeli writers.
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