A Life Before Auschwitz
|Date||Wed, Jun 1, 11:00am - 12:30pm|
Leben? Oder Theater? (Life? Or Theater?) asks Berlin-born artist Charlotte Salomon in about 800 sophisticated, complex and haunting artworks that she created between 1940 and 1942.
Charlotte Salomon (1917–1943), was a hugely talented Berlin-born artist who was murdered at Auschwitz, four months pregnant, at the age of twenty-six. Her main body of work, a sequence of nearly 800 gouache images entitled Leben? oder Theater? (Life? or Theatre?), and created while seeking refuge in the South of France, is an ambitious fictive autobiography which deploys both images and text, and a wide range of musical, literary and cinematic references. The narrative, informed by Salomon’s experiences as a cultured, and assimilated German Jewish woman, depicts a life lived in the shadow of Nazi persecution and a family history of suicide, but also reveals moments of intense happiness and hope. Challenging the artistic conventions of Salomon’s time, it remains almost impossible to categorize.
In her lecture, London-based art historian Monica Bohm-Duchen explores the multiple aspects of this sophisticated, complex and haunting work and reflects on its relevance for our own time.
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