Places of a Present Past brings together three exhibitions that were presented at the Pollock Gallery at Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts in 2014. These exhibitions addressed the traces of trauma left on particular sites; paying close attention to the scars left by the wounds of war. Jin-me Yoon's work invokes the colonial relationship between Japan and Korea in the first half of the twentieth century. The group exhibition Where Are You From? recounted the story of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, with works by artists Aissa Deebi, Kamal Aljafari and Dor Guez. Finally, Sarah Morris's film 1972 points to the legacy of the Holocaust in Germany and beyond.
The artworks in this book are bound together by historiographical impulse. In some sense, these artists act as historians. They are less interested in the truth than the way that we feel through the legacies of past traumas. They reveal the oblique ways that we repress historic trauma, burying it in the very sites of their origin. Places of a Present Past is filled with an archaeological ethic, metaphorically digging down, both spatially and psychologically into the depths of transnational grief.