Holocaust Representation , postmodern aesthetics and Sacred Meanings – memory reframed

pg 150 – A problem for all Holocaust museums and exhibits is how to relate narratives of the Holocaust without relying too heavily on either abstraction or figuration. Ethical and aesthetic questions haunt both strategies. Those who have been critical of abstraction typically object to the elevation of formal and aesthetic concerns above the duties of remembrance and communication. They criticize aesthetic priorities that discourage direct emotional or empathetic involvement with the horrific subject matter. Critics of figuration on the other hand. object to the overexposure of certain images and symbols that concerns particular kinds of suffering, the trivialization and exploitation of the holocaust, and the creation of harrowing depiction that alienate viewers.

pg 151 – Post modern aesthetic techniques draw attention to the process transmission in Holocaust memory. In this sense, postmodern art practice tends toward the non narrative, the polyvalent, the enigmatic and the ambiguous; it cultivates gaps, silences, and absences appropriate for the evocation of traumatic memories – themselves subject to repression and forgetting. [apel memory effects p 4 ]

pg 153 Mark C taylor proposes a third method [as opposed to abstracted form and figuration form] of disfiguration.. Through this method the figure is “neither ereased nor absolutized” but rather used with and against itself “to figure that which eludes figuring”: the unfigurable.


anselm kiefer – white cube – the disfigurable 

pg 154 – [discussing how to represent the holocaust] Cultural ciritc Andreas Huyssen expresses a persistent and wide spread belief that “no matter how fractured by media, by geography, and by subject position respresentation of the Holocaust are, ultimately it all comes down to this core: unimaginable, unspeakable, and unrepresetanble horror. ” ]


abstraction of art of the holocaust.

pg 155 – Those who argue in favor of abstraction and against figuration, interestingly, also refer to the emotional response of viewer. Jean-Paul Sartre, for example, argues that abstraction in art is the only means for coping visually with subjects like holocaust


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