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Hofstra University Museum
  • Converging Voices: Gender and Identity
  • Andy Warhol

Looking and Thinking Past Auschwitz

April 2 - June 22, 2007
Lowenfeld Exhibition Hall, Axinn Library, 10th floor


Primo Levi

Looking and Thinking Past Auschwitz presents photographs of Primo Levi taken by Jillian Edelstein in 1986. These compelling black and white photographs show a range of Levi's facial expressions, from amusement to contemplation.

Primo Levi

Primo Levi (1919-1987) is now acknowledged as one of the 20th century's greatest writers. His memoir, Survival at Auschwitz (If This Is a Man), has claimed a place among the masterpieces of Holocaust literature. Levi's last work, The Drowned and the Saved, is arguably the most profound meditation on the Shoah. In his lifetime, Levi forged an impressive body of work and his writings remain a powerful reminder of what transpired in the extermination camps of Europe and what it means to be human after Auschwitz.

Jillian Edelstein was born and grew up in South Africa. She began working as a press photographer in Johannesburg on the Rand Daily Mail and the Star. In 1985 she emigrated to London to study at the London College of Printing. She has worked as a freelance photographer since 1986, and her portraits have appeared in The Sunday Times Magazine, Marie Claire, Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, Vanity Fair, Time, Interview and The New Yorker. She has received a number of awards including the Kodak UK Young Photographer of the Year in 1986, Photographers Gallery Portrait Photographer of the Year Award in 1990, the Visa d'Or at the International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan in 1997, and the John Kobal Book Award in 2003.

Between 1996 and 2002 Edelstein returned to South Africa several times to document the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Her award winning book Truth and Lies, shot in large format black and white, was published by Granta in 2001 to international acclaim. Her photographs have been exhibited internationally at venues including the National Portrait Gallery, the Photographers Gallery, The Royal Academy, New Art Space, Tom Blau Gallery in London, the Recontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France and the Bensusan Museum, Johannesburg. She is currently finishing her second book of photography about the Sangoma, the traditional healers based on the Lesotho/ South African border.

For additional information about the photographer, Jillian Edelstein, please visit her web site at http://www.jillianedelstein.co.uk/.

This exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Hofstra University Cultural Center conference Answering Auschwitz: Primo Levi's Science and Humanism After the Fall, April 26-27, 2007.


  • Converging Voices: Gender and Identity
  • Andy Warhol