Self-portrait of a Self-hating Jew


2011 (6) Self-portrait of a Self-Hating Jew (full version of Ury’s article in English), published in “Migration, Communication & Home - Jewish Tradition, Change & Gender in a Global World”
Tania Reytan - Marincheshka, Editor. LIK Publishing House ISBN: 978-954-607-802-5 ISBN: 954-607-802-6 Sofia (BG)

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A compilation video DVD of Touch me Not (4.18 minutes) and the article Self-portrait of a Self-hating Jew (short version) with images (30 minutes) was produced in 2010.

Full-length version (on the British and German experience) 45 minutes
Short version (on just the German experience) 30 minutes



What is Jewish culture? Is it culture that concerns itself with Jewish identity, history, religion? Race? Is it constructed by artists who consider their Jewish origin as significant? What of the work made by artists who do not consider their Jewish background as being of significance. How would one define Judaism? And who should be doing that?

These are some of the difficult questions raised by the exhibition “The Right of the Image” (2003-04). And who defines what is Jewish art? German curator Hans Günter Golinski writes:

"The paradoxical situation of artists from a Jewish background, which ranges from normal to being a special case, furnishes them with a sharpened consciousness that distances them to society at large and makes them aware of the conditions of minorities.”1

Referencing her own self-portraiture on themes of Jewish and female identity, multimedia artist Tanya Ury discusses taboo zones and censorship in Great Britain and Germany. From a feminist position she questions what is the female Jewish sign analogous to male circumcision, while touching on the taboo regarding the erotic corpse of the Holocaust. Parallels are drawn between the Jewish school quota of Britain in the 1960’s and the female artist quota today regarding exhibition representation. Comparisons are also made between England and Germany in their representation of Jewish culture vis à vis Jewish Cultural days, Jewish museums and exhibitions on Jewish themes.

Referring to popular and traditional culture, but also the bible Ury examines the story behind prominent Jewish men and the search for a Jewish art form by female inheritors of this legacy.


1 “Somewhere in between taking sides and distancing themselves from a life in public.” Hans Günter Golinski: To the Themes in an Exhibition, Page 25: Das Recht des Bildes - Jüdische Perspektiven in der modernen Kunst (The Right of the Image – Jewish Perspectives in modern art). Museum Bochum 2003-04 ed Hans Günter Golinski und Sepp Hiekisch-Picard. Museum Bochum on behalf of the city of Bochum, Heidelberg: Published by Edition Braus im Wachter Verlag 2003


Tanya Ury