Dr. Ayelet Zohar is a Senior Lecturer at the History of Art Department, Tel Aviv University, and currently a Visiting Associate Professor at the History of Art and CEAS at Yale (2018). She received her PhD from the Slade School of Fine Art, University of London (2007), followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University (2007-9), and a second Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (2011). In 2012 Dr. Zohar was a Japan Foundation Research Fellow at Hokkaidô University, followed by two research periods at Waseda University in Tokyo (2017 and 2018). Dr. Zohar holds a research grant from the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) for her research on war memory in contemporary Japanese photography and video art (2016-2019).
Dr. Zohar’s main fields of research are the history and theory of Japanese photography; contemporary fine art photography; Historical, Meiji era photography, and its links to the traditions of ink painting; Art and visual culture in Japan; Postcolonial theory, Deleuzian studies and Trauma Studies. Dr. Zohar has published extensively on issues of Japanese photography and contemporary art in Japan, war memory in Japanese photography, gender and sexuality in contemporary Japanese art and photography. Dr. Zohar is also an expert on camouflage practices in relation to photography, and has related to issues of Foucauldian, Deleuzian and Rancierian theories in this respect. Recently, Dr. Zohar is working on a major project that has developed her own reading of photography in Japan as an opaque medium, created through performative processes.
Dr. Zohar is a transdisciplinary artist and an independent curator. In 2005 she curated the now globally famous “PostGender” exhibition (Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, Haifa, 2005), and in 2015 her curated exhibition “Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the Repressed” was shown at the Tel Aviv Universirty Art Gallery. She was the Head of the Museology and Critical Curatorial Studies Programme at Tel Aviv University (2016-2018).
EAST 500, HSAR 803
Reflecting Truth: Meiji Photography between Performativity and Representation, Modernity and Empire
Celebrating 150 years since the Meiji Restoration (1868) is an ideal opportunity to look back and ponder the engagement with an alternative history of photography, from a Japanese point of view. Photography arrived in Japan soon after its creation in the UK and France (1839), and first images were created as soon as 1848 in Kagoshima and Nagasaki. We consider the two paths photography developed in Japan, and their intersections: experimental approaches with performative modes of execution (i.e., direct light, opaque image, camera-less photographs, etc.), versus representations of Japan, a method that can be studied through two tracks—the creation of exotic, nonmodern images for the Western, consuming eye; and the documentation of Japan’s rapid modernization and political developments into settlement, nationalism, colonialism, and militarism.