By Andrea Liss
Paintings historian Andrea Liss examines the inherent problems and effective chances of utilizing photos to undergo witness, beginning a serious discussion in regards to the methods the post-Auschwitz new release has hired those records to symbolize Holocaust reminiscence and historical past. 12 colour photographs. 28 b&w images.
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Additional info for Trespassing Through Shadows: Memory, Photography, And The Holocaust (Visible Evidence)
23 The current manipulation and presence of these images both reanimate and haunt the past lives of the people pictured. The photographs and the identity cards unintentionally yet translucently perform that lack of response as mute and potent witnesses. Thus in their tantalizing (im)possibility, the identity cards tear at the photographic wound that would make of memory a souvenir. While the museum travelers literally traverse and descend the three floors of the permanent exhibition with their expendable identity cards in hand, a different construction of photographic memory-work is being tried in an adjoining section of the exhibition space.
That is, the faces can be construed as giving something to the viewer rather than asking the viewer to efface the subject to be mourned by abridging the acts of mourning. The towering faces mime solace and offer provocative sites of repose. Walter Benjamin’s dialectic discussion of the portrait in relationship to the “cult of remembrance” touches on this double-edged dilemma of the power of the photographic face. Writing in 1936 not without some trace of regret, he was thinking about the technical reproduction of the human countenance as the last retrenchment of photography’s cult value: It is no accident that the portrait was the focal point of early photography.
He writes to Eleanor Roosevelt telling her that he loves English and wants to speak it in America one day. She responds enthusiastically. The German police order Charley to work for them. 1940‒1944: Charley is told by the Germans to dismantle the ghetto in Kolbushova, then hears that he is to be killed upon completion of the job. He escapes into the woods with a group of Jewish men. The present tense is unfortunate here for it works too hard and in vain to force the reality of Haskel into our present.