The department of art and art history welcomed curator Susanne Slavick as a part of the Visual Exchange: Lectures in Visual Culture program Wednesday to approximately 40 people.
Hosted in the Art and Communications Building’s Lecture Hall, Slavick’s lecture consisted of topics such as inspirations for the book “Out of Rubble” to the pieces that contributed to it.
Slavick, along with Holly Edwards, wrote “Out of Rubble,” a book filled with various artists’ perspectives on war’s aftermath using different medias ranging from eerie photographs of furniture surrounded by debris to a 96-inch by 120-inch collage making one gigantic map
Luis Batres, freshman kinesiology major, thought the lecture was graphic.
“It was not graphic in the sense that it was showing death or anything but there was just much depth about it,” he said. “It’s a reminder of how moral we are.”
Throughout the lecture, Slavick presented a slide show featuring photos of the contributed work from “Out of Rubble.”
Aside from the slide show, Slavick read the poem, “The End and the Beginning” by Nobel Prize in Literature winner Wislawa Szymborska.
“The book is inspired and organized by the stanzas of the poem,” Slavick said.
“It’s about the aftermath of war and all the stages of remembering, recovering, picking up the pieces, the reconstruction and dreaming again,” she said.
Interest in social activism came to Slavick because of her family background in social justice issues and anti-war movements.
“I’ve been very aware and sensitized to the militarization of our culture,” Slavick said.
“When I really started doing this particular body of work in my own studio, there were at least three wars going on at that time,” she said.
Slavick also credited her experience as a parent as inspiration and questioning of the wars that happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
“Emotionally I felt more as a parent who had a child of soldier age,” she said. “I felt more engaged and questioned even more as to why we keep doing this to each other.”
Agreeing with Slavick’s dislike for war was freshman art major Sarah Marriott.
“I thought it was interesting because she was so passionate about war,” Marriott said. “I don’t like war or agree with it either.”
“Out of my own work, I began to look at other artists’ work that responded to the aftermath of war and decided to collect their work and make a kind-of exhibit in book form,” Slavick said.
“I then wrote an introductory essay to that and I drew from the book to make the show,” Slavick said.
Batres described the lecture as “definitely surprising.”
“I did not come to this lecture with the same mentality that I am leaving it,” he said.
“Out of Rubble” was showcased last semester in the Harris Gallery as a part of the “Peace Out of War” series.
Due to an illness, Slavick had to cancel a scheduled lecture last fall but rescheduled to present the lecture this semester.
“I am thankful that I was able to come after having had the show here,” she said.
“I’m just grateful that Dion (Johnson, director of university galleries) arranged it and that they were flexible to reschedule,” she said.
Karla Rendon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.