how is holocaust art received in the land “of the perpetrators”? Well that depends…
In a way, its the politics of remembrance and memory.Or at least the problematics. Memory is often the theme with the focus not on what is handed down, but how. This, as well as the ideological construction of history and its pruning, shaping and elimination. Of course, that does not preclude a discussion about whether the holocaust can be represented at all, since it falls into a zone at “the limits of representation. ” However, there is an impossibility of access to Holocaust experience, so a work of art usually focuses on the way this experience is constructed for later generations exclusively through representation. The work is necessarily diffused and allusive because diffusion and allusion are the conditions of contemporary Holocaust consciousness, pervaded by the pressures of contemporary concerns.
In any event, what has to be addressed is the anxiety of critique, imbued with a fear of aesthetization which can invoke a reinforcing of the impulses and complicity which led to the event.Ultimately, any effort has to explicitly rejects the single most haunting and influential critique of beauty in Holocaust representation, which underlies all such critiques, which is the interdict against aestheticization and exploitation made by Theodor Adorno in his post war assertion, that “to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.” The power of Adorno’s statement still retains its force, given the struggle between profound understanding and the “holocaust industry” which seems to serve broader political, social and economic purposes. What were originally called “atrocity photos” has morphed into a full-fledged field of study.
There is no shortage of artistic works that deal with and commemorate the deportation and extermination of human beings committed by the German National Socialist State. These type of monuments can be seen in many cities and their function is often limited in proving that the “darkest chapter” of German history is not forgotten.A kind of self-pious forgiveness that ingeniously avoids central issues.Akin to a social criticism of mass society without a critique on the consumerism, status and distinction which drives it. The victims are still commodities.So, there is a conventional, established narrative ritual by which a self-prescribed national mourning seizes upon the murdered victims.Any holocaust art of aesthetic power which disrupts the ceremony of this artificial solemnity somewhat self-serving national memorial service is marginalized and disparaged through any number of pretexts.
So, both victims and perpetrators can play to the tune of the holocaust industry. The norm then takes the form of solidarity with the victims. Its a comfortable and neat solution for the surviving perpetrators and their descendants. Instead of documenting the manifest, willing and active involvement of all levels of German society, Germans as offenders;the grief that is truly felt by only a few people in Germany, is turned into a lie on the level of a national declaration….
…A bit similar to the monuments in France in honor of Jean Moulin and the resistance; where a few good men seems to have enviably broad shoulders to carry the guilt of a complicit nation. Hence, with memorials to a rather banal “un-laudable” era of Germany, a bureaucratically organized and industrially executed mass murder, can be entombed by being be laid to rest in brick or concrete. All the better to repress unsavory or uncomfortable parts of the past in favor of a more sanitized portrayal.
So what tends to happen is victors being blended with the victims. Like Ronald Reagan going to Bergen-Belsen and then Bitburg cemetery which contained Waffen SS graves.
Boltanski deals in his impressive somber and archive-like installations with the legacies and the remaining traces of wiped out existences. Death is in Boltanski’s works the point of departure for his exploration of life, for the present without past is unthinkable. Thereby he stresses fundamentally that his art is not an art that “has the Holocaust as a theme or explains it, but rather it is art which explains itself because
the Holocaust existed. It is an art that follows it.” Read More:http://text.no-art.info/en/reichelt-germundson-lurie.pdfaa