Trim: 6¼ x 9⅜
978-1-4985-5581-4 • Hardback • August 2017 • $122.00 • (£94.00)
978-1-4985-5582-1 • eBook • August 2017 • $115.50 • (£89.00)
June Yap received a PhD in cultural studies from the National University of Singapore.
Chapter 1: Histories
Chapter 2: Witness
Chapter 3: Profane
Chapter 4: Return
Appendix 1: Some Notes on Soviet–Malayan Connections
Appendix 2: Some Notes on Performance Art Support in Singapore
In an interview published a month before his passing, Hayden White suggested historical studies had finally arrived at an “era of the image,” given how long it took for historians to recognize the potentialities of photography and subsequently cinema and post-cinema as not just historical objects but also modes of doing history. White cited queer history as an example of complicating the binary between the object and method of historical study, enabling new approaches to understanding history and historiography (Ethan Kleinberg and Hayden White on the Practical Past, Part 2, published on YouTube, February 5, 2018).
June Yap’s Retrospective: A Historiographical Aesthetic in ContemporarySingapore and Malaysia (2016) is an essential curatorial, historical, and aesthetic contribution to this enlargement of history and historiography.
— Pacific Affairs
If Malaysia and Singapore continue to share one thing in common, it is not their languages, politics, economics, or even contemporary culture—it is a shared history of modernity. June Yap posits that a historiographical aesthetic underlines many contemporary artworks in the two societies. Yap makes an important case for why contemporary artists across the political divide of nation-states are persistently haunted by this twentieth century modern past, which they share. It would seem that the stakes are too high for artists to ignore the debates. In lucid and poetic prose, Yap makes the case that serious and rigorous engagement with critical history is no longer the sole purchase of the academia. This is a significant work not only for scholars of contemporary art, but also for historiography. It is a theoretical cross-disciplinary study that contributes to a larger conversation about how we come to terms with a haunted past. By turn speculative, incisive, and rigorous, Yap's study provides useful conceptual apparatuses on how creative outputs in the form of contemporary artworks contribute to new ways at looking at our past.
— Simon Soon, University of Malaya
June Yap’s Retrospective is a journey that is at once her own as well as Singapore’s and Malay(si)a’s. It is a journey of reflection through the eyes and works of artists who draw on the nations’ histories to both understand and to create what it means to be Singaporean and Malaysian. Written the with passion of someone who loves her subject, and crafted with the attention of someone who cares for her words, Retrospective deserves a place on the shelf of every scholar of Malaysia and Singapore, and of art in Southeast Asia.
— Julian CH Lee, RMIT University
A much-awaited book, this is the culmination of June Yap's long term engagement with the art ecologies of Southeast Asia. Her proposition of the ‘historiographical aesthetic’ as a means to disrupt and unpack the workings of national history requires our careful attention.
— Zhuang Wubin, author of Photography in Southeast Asia: A Survey