“Jewish Tactics and Memorial Space-making: Lisa Alembik’s Murder Ballads

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Abstract

This essay discusses artist Lisa Alembik’s drawing series, Murder Ballads, as occupying the intersection of the imaginative discourse of post-witness representation and the production of Jewish memorial space. By representing missing places and people, Alembik puts her drawings into an exchange with an Appalachian musical form to explore family trauma. These crime scenes are spaces that breathe life into an inaccessible past.

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Figures
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    Lisa Alembik, Spilled Seed, Twisted Vine, Murder Ballads: death by garden stake series, 2016, graphite on paper. 6 ¼ × 5 ½″. (Collection of the artist, © Lisa Alembik).
  • View in gallery
    Lisa Alembik, In Her Sitting Room, Murder Ballad series, 2016, graphite on paper. 6 ¼ × 5 ½″. (Collection of Tracy Younglincoln, © Lisa Alembik).
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    Lisa Alembik, Murder Ballad Symphony II, 2016, graphite on paper. 19 × 25″. (Collection of the artist, © Lisa Alembik).
  • View in gallery
    Lisa Alembik, un-marker (for Blalystock), 2001–2001, Hydro-Stone plaster. One of 800 + birds exhibited in a careful pile, each 3 × 1 × 1″. (Collection of the artist, photo: Deven Knapp, © Lisa Alembik).
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