Gottfried Helnwein
Memorialising the Holocaust

by Katy O'Donoghue, May 2008

 

 

Contents

 

Introduction

Chapter 1: Monuments

Chapter 2: Counter-monuments

Chapter 3: Gottfried Helnwein

Chapter 4: Representing the Holocaust

Conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustrations

 

Illus. 1: Epiphany 1 (The Adoration of the Magi), by Gottfried Helnwein, 756 cm x 2000 cm, digital print, installation at Kilkenny Castle during the Kilkenny Arts Festival, 2001.

Illus. 2: Heroes detail, Warsaw Ghetto Monument, designed by Nathan Rapoport, Warsaw, Poland, 1948.

Illus. 3: Martyrs detail, Warsaw Ghetto Monument, designed by Nathan Rapoport, Warsaw, Poland, 1948.

Illus. 4: Warsaw Ghetto Monument, designed by Nathan Rapoport, Warsaw, Poland, 1948.

Illus. 5: Arno Brecker, (1988) by Gottfried Helnwein, 99 x 66 cm, silver print.

 

Illus. 6: Harburg’s Monument Against Fascism, designed by Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz, shortly after its unveiling in 1986, before its first sinking.

Illus. 7: Memorial graffiti on the Harburg Monument against Fascism, designed by Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz, 1986.

Illus. 8: Harburg’s Monument Against Fascism, designed by Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz, unveiled in 1986, almost gone.

Illus. 9: Lebensunwertes Leben, (1979) by Gottfried Helnwein, watercolour on cardboard.

Illus. 10: Selektion (Ninth November Night), by Gottfried Helnwein, scanachrome on vinyl, installation, Cologne, Germany, 1988.

Illus. 11: Selektion (Ninth November Night), by Gottfried Helnwein, scanachrome on vinyl, installation, Cologne, Germany, 1988, after vandalization.

Illus. 12: Epiphany I (Adoration of the Magi), (1996) by Gottfried Helnwein, oil and acrylic on canvas, 210 x 333 cm, Denver Art Museum, Kent Logan Collection.

Illus. 13: Epiphany II (Adoration of the Shepherds), (1998) by Gottfried Helnwein, oil and acrylic on canvas, 210 x 310 cm, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.

Illus. 14: Epiphany III (Presentation at the Temple), (1998) by Gottfried Helnwein, oil and acrylic on canvas, 210 x 310 cm, Jason Lee Collection, Los Angeles.

Illus. 15: Mary-Sheila Walsh, Aoife Connelly and Eimear Connelly, by Gottfried Helnwein, digital print, installation at Kilkenny Castle during the Kilkenny Arts Festival, 2001.

Illus. 16: Epiphany III (Presentation at the Temple) by Gottfried Helnwein, 800 cm x 600 cm, digital print, installation in Kilkenny city during the Kilkenny Arts Festival, 2001.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

Gottfried Helnwein has been described as an artist that has committed himself to reminding the world of the Holocaust.[1] Children are a recurring theme in his work; the strong/weak hierarchy makes them a ready metaphor for the victims of evil. Stripped one by one of their privileges, rights, sustenance, and finally their bodily integrity, the Nazi’s victims were subjected to what Christopher Bollas has called ‘a radical and catastrophic infantilization.’[2] I first became aware of Helnwein’s work in 2001 when he exhibited at the Kilkenny Arts Festival in Ireland. Large scale portraits of local children and photographs of his paintings conflating Nazi and religious imagery were hung on buildings around the city. I was particularly interested in the intense debate that arose around the installation of the pictures. City Council members objected to the hanging of work on City Hall, the public sent letters of complaint to local newspapers and called in to the local radio station in protest.[3] During the exhibition two of the works were vandalised. Helnwein has maintained that it is important to see a reaction to his work. In February I travelled to Bonn, Germany and met with Helnwein to discuss how, through placing his work in the public realm, he attempts to keep Holocaust memory alive by instigating a dialogue. His subject matter is the repression of the greatest trauma of our century - National Socialism, people’s complicity in it, and its consequences.[4]

 

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Epiphany 1 (The Adoration of the Magi) part of Gottfried Helnwein’s installation at Kilkenny Castle

during the Kilkenny Arts Festival, 2001.

Illus. 1

 

The Western tradition of memorial making has been founded upon an assumption that material objects can act as analogues of human memory.[5] It has been generally taken for granted that memories can be transferred to solid material objects, which can come to stand for the memories, and by virtue of their durability, preserve them beyond their purely mental and thus, ephemeral existence.[6] I will discuss the problems inherent in this conception of objects, and more specifically monuments, as sites of memory using Nathan Rapoport’s Warsaw Ghetto Monument as an example of a monument that has shifting meanings.[7] In discussing the problems inherent in monuments I will highlight the particular difficulties in constructing a monument to commemorate the Holocaust and how this has resulted in new attempts to memorialise. I will discuss the concept of the counter-monument with particular reference to Jochen and Esther Gerz’s disappearing Monument Against Fascism, War and Violence – and for Peace and Human Rights.[8]

 

Helnwein’s work has no illusions of monumental permanence but is often monumental in scale and is very much sited in the public sphere. I will explore how Helnwein’s work relates to the concept of the counter-monument and highlight the similarities in the aims and objectives of his public memorials and Jochen and Esther Gerz’s Monument Against Fascism. I will discuss in detail Helnwein’s photo mural installations in the cities of Cologne and Kilkenny and explore the supposed problems inherent in any aesthetic representation of the Holocaust. I will consider the (later qualified and amended ) quote by Theodor Adorno that ‘to write poetry after Auschwitz in barbaric’ and the subsequent debate among critics as to how an event such as the Holocaust can or should be represented and what forms its images can or ought to take.[9] In conclusion, I will challenge the notion of there being any ‘limits’ to representation with regard to Holocaust art.

 

 

 

Chapter 1

Monuments

 

Warsaw Ghetto Monument

 

Traditionally, the monument has been used as a site of memory; by its seemingly land-anchored permanence, it might also guarantee the permanence of a particular memory or idea attached to it.[10] In this conception the monument would have to remain essentially impervious to time and change. However, in his article ‘The Biography of a Memorial Icon’ James E. Young argues that monuments can, over time, accrue new meanings and significance. Young discusses Nathan Rapoport’s Warsaw Ghetto Monument as an example of a monument that has undergone many ‘personality’ changes.[11] It was the first memorial to mark both the heroism of Jewish resistance to the Nazis and the complete annihilation of the Jews in Warsaw and was unveiled on 19th April 1948 to mark the 5th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.[12] The Warsaw Ghetto was established in 1940 as a city based concentration camp and a transit centre for Jews on their way to their death at Treblinka.[13] Ten-foot-high walls topped with broken glass and barbed wire were erected around what had been largely a Jewish slum section of Warsaw. On top of the original 50,000 inhabitants, 500,000 Polish Jews were brought to the ghetto.[14] Many died from starvation or disease before the Germans began rounding up the remaining Jews for deportation to Treblinka. The Jewish Fighting Organisation was set up to resist deportation; they forced the Nazis to withdraw from the ghetto in a series of hit and run attacks that turned into full blown street battles which raged for six weeks. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the first civilian armed resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II and although it was unsuccessful, both the Jews and the non Jewish Poles of Warsaw celebrated the significance of this event.[15] Unlike other more abstract memorial forms such as the obelisk or the pantheon, this free standing wall resembles a great tombstone, with wreaths of flowers adorning its base. The seven heroically sculpted figures of men and women on the monument’s western wall facing the open square are transformed to legendary proportions.

Frontal view of the Warsaw Ghetto Monument designed by Nathan Rapoport

Illus. 2

 

Except for one fallen youth at the lower right, the figures are rising to resist and protect themselves. Each grasps a weapon of the sort found in the ghetto: a muscular prophet figure on one knee picks up a rock; a young boy at the left clutches a dagger; a young woman at the right holds a rifle; the leader of the revolt, Mordechai Anielewicz holds a home-made grenade in his hand. With his bare chest, tattered clothes and rolled up sleeves, clutching his grenade almost like a hammer, Rapoport’s Anielewicz is unmistakably proletarian.[16] On the other side, in numerical reference to the tribes of Israel, twelve stooped and huddled figures on the reverse embody archaic, archetypal Jews in exile. Eyes to the ground, all trudge resignedly to their fate, except for the rabbi holding a Torah scroll in one arm, who looks up and reaches to heaven as if to beseech God. The monument’s dedication is inscribed in Hebrew, Yiddish and Polish ‘To the Jewish People – Its Heroes and Its Martyrs’.[17]

 

Reverse side of the Warsaw Ghetto Monument designed by Nathan Rapoport

Illus. 3

 

As a Polish Jew in German occupied Poland, Rapoport fled to Russia. [18]  Although Russia was technically allied with Nazi Germany at this point, her borders with Poland were open to Jewish refugees who could either pay for sanctuary or provide skills and labour deemed valuable by Stalin at the time. Rapoport spent several years working as a state sculptor where he would set in bronze and stone all the forms and faces designated worth remembering.[19] His time working in Stalinist Russia no doubt resulted in the ultimate mixing of Jewish and proletarian figures in the Warsaw Ghetto Monument.

 

AppleMark

The Warsaw Ghetto Monument, designed by Nathan Rapoport

Illus. 4

 

Nathan Rapoport set out to make ‘a clearly national monument for the Jews, not a Polish monument’.[20] However, the monument has been revitalised by ceremonies conducted at its base and with the state’s blessing it is now as much a gathering place for Polish war veterans as for Jews. To the former Communist government’s consternation, the Ghetto Monument’s square became a gathering place for Solidarity and other dissident groups in the 1980s, who turned it into a performance space for protests.[21] The government launched its own campaign to nationalise the monument after 1983 and square surrounding the Warsaw Ghetto Monument became both a dangerous and necessary memorial space for the state, whose best interest ironically was to preserve its literal reference to the Jewish uprising while assiduously avoiding its symbolic reference to the current resistance.[22]

 

The American philanthropist and Warsaw survivor Leon Jolson commissioned a reproduction of the monument from its original forms, with slight aesthetic modifications, to be installed at Yad Vashem on Har Hazikaron (Remembrance Hill) in Jerusalem.[23] The decision to recast the Warsaw Ghetto Monument in Israel after 1967 came about partly amid fears that its Jewish life in Poland could not be guaranteed. In being left to stand in an environment both hostile to and bereft of Jews, the monument’s Jewish significance and character now seemed threatened as never before. American Jews and Israelis worried that, as Jews were being expelled from the party and unions in Poland, Jewish meaning would be elided from the Warsaw Ghetto Monument.[24]  Unlike its back to back setting in Warsaw, at Yad Vashem the heroes and martyrs are placed side by side so they may be viewed simultaneously. A handful of those involved in the Ghetto uprising lived to fight in Israel’s own War of Independence. Israeli independence followed the liberation of the camps by three years and was regarded as an extension of the Jew’s struggle for survival in Europe.[25] By uniting past heroism and resistance with present, the recasting of the monument invites Israelis to remember parts of their own war experiences in the images of the Ghetto Uprising.[26] In Israel, therefore, this cannot be a memorial to victims so much as it is to victory; it recalls the Jews’ ultimate triumph over the Nazis in their survival and, in having risen at all, the Jews’ victory over their own past responses to persecution.

 

 

Holocaust Memorials

 

Although the Ghetto Monument was intended by the artist to be ‘a clearly national monument for the Jews, not a Polish monument’, it has since been nationalised by Poland and Israel. [27]  Monuments are open to appropriation and can therefore, not always guarantee the permanence of any particular idea or memory. Commemoration of the dead of the First World War was probably the largest and most popular movement for the erection of public monuments ever known to Western society.[28] After 1918, there had followed a period of political turmoil, Germany had lost the war and in an attempt to deal with their grief and bitterness there was a gigantic, though decentralised and uncoordinated, programme of erecting war memorials.[29] When War broke out again in 1939, Germany was the country with the highest number of memorials in the world.[30] The purpose of nationalist war memorials and memorials such as the Warsaw Ghetto Monument has traditionally been to commemorate resistance and to transform traumatic individual deaths into acts of national celebration and heroic assertions of collective value. [31] A war memorial is successful when personal human sacrifice is justified for the greater good. If the traditional aim of war memorials is to encourage the resolution of suffering, and to validate the personal sacrifice by affirming that ‘they did not die in vain’ such cannot be said of Holocaust memorials, where nobody can claim the deaths served any purpose whatsoever.[32] Unlike state sponsored memorials built by victimised nations to themselves; Holocaust memorials are necessarily those of former persecutors remembering their victims.[33] The difficulty in commemorating the Holocaust is that memory work that attempts to deal with such an event must not be redemptive. The primary aim of Holocaust memorials is to repudiate and lament, not affirm; both the historical realities and the archaic values that seemed to have spawned them.

 

 

Nazi Monuments

 

Between the Nazi abhorrence of entartete kunst or ‘degenerate art’ – and the officially sanctioned socialist realism of the Soviet Union, the traditional figurative monument had enjoyed something of a revival in totalitarian societies.[34] Both regimes commissioned, or made possible, works of public art which would reflect their ideals of pure Aryan race or workers solidarity. In its consort with this century’s two giant totalitarian regimes, the monument’s credibility as a public site of memory was thus eroded further still.[35]

 

In the 1980s and 90s Gottfried Helnwein produced a series photographic portraits entitled Faces. The series was a collection of portraits of icons of contemporary culture, both high and low, that he was particularly interested in including: Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol and William S. Burroughs.[36] Helnwein also wanted to take photographs of ‘the last witnesses who were close to the center of power, which caused the catastrophe’.[37] He photographed two leading artists responsible for the dominating aesthetics of the Third Reich: Leni Riefenstahl, a film maker who had directed the great propaganda spectacles of the Nazi party, and Arno Brecker, whose sculptures embodied the Nazi ideals of pure Aryan race. Helnwein’s photograph of Brecker shows the ageing sculptor with a suspicious expression. Helnwein reports that both Arno Brecker and Leni Riefenstahl tried to justify their fascist activities to him by claiming that they simply worked on commissions for the reigning powers and had no political agenda of their own.[38]

 

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Arno Brecker, (1988)

Illus. 5

 

Interestingly, when Nathan Rapoport began constructing his Warsaw Ghetto Monument, he travelled to Sweden to source granite for the monument’s retaining wall. The Jewish agency in Stockholm directed him to the best quarry in the area, where he discovered a huge cache of perfectly cut Labradorite granite blocks, ready to be shipped. He was informed that the blocks had been ordered during the war by Arno Brecker for a monument in Berlin to commemorate Hitler’s victory. Rapoport had the granite sent to Warsaw for the construction of the Ghetto Monument.[39] In its use of the giant proletarian figures of the Stalinist era and the typological image of Jews in exile, the Ghetto Monument has found little critical consensus and has been subsequently condemned by Post War critics as being too Stalinist and not Jewish enough.[40]

 

Chapter 2

Counter-monuments

 

With the attempts to memorialise the Holocaust in Germany there was a realisation that conventional memorial practices were inadequate and inappropriate to the task. Pierre Nora has warned that rather than embodying memory, the monument may displace it altogether, supplanting a community’s memory-work with its own material form. ‘The less memory is experienced from the inside,’ Nora cautions, ‘the more it exists only through its exterior scaffolding and outward signs’.[41] Thus, once we assign monumental form to memory, we may have to some degree divested ourselves of the obligation to remember. In shouldering the memory-work, monuments may only serve to relieve the viewers of their memory burden.[42] One of the contemporary results of Germany’s memorial conundrum is the rise of its counter-monuments. In his essay The Counter-Monument: Memory Against Itself in Germany, James E. Young discusses how this genre of Holocaust anti-memorials has attempted to deal with the danger that a monument may contribute less to memory than to forgetting.[43] Counter-monuments are memorials conceived to challenge the very premise of the monument. They involve the creation of self conscious memorial spaces where the aim is not to embody the memory but give it back to the community, not to console but to provoke, not to remain fixed but to change and to demand interaction from the viewer.[44] In their abstract form, these counter-monuments claim not to dictate a specific object of memory. Rather, they more passively accommodate all memory and response. By inviting viewers to commemorate themselves, the counter-monument reminds them that to some extent all any monument can do is provide a trace of its makers, not of the memory itself.[45]

 

The Disappearing Monument

 

Berlin born conceptual artist Jochen Gerz was one of six artists invited to propose a design for the city of Hamburg for a Monument Against Fascism, War, and Violence – and for Peace and Human Rights.[46] He worked together with his wife, Esther Shalev-Gerz, toward finding a form that challenged the monument’s traditional illusions of permanence and its authoritarian rigidity. The artists’ first concern was how to emplace such memory without alleviating the need for individuals in the community to remember. Their second concern was how to build an antifascist monument without resorting to what they regarded as the fascist tendencies in all monuments. ‘What we did not want,’ Jochen Gerz declared, ‘was an enormous pedestal with something on it presuming to tell people what they ought to think.’[47] They decided that their monument against fascism was to be a self-abnegating monument. It was a twelve-meter-high, one-meter-square pillar, made of hollow aluminium and plated with a thin layer of soft, dark lead. They chose to place it in the commercial centre of Harburg, a suburb of Hamburg and in their words a ‘normal, uglyish place’. The monument stood in a busy thoroughfare outside a shopping mall and was unveiled in 1986 with a temporary inscription at the base that read in German, French, English, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic and Turkish:

 

We invite the citizens of Harburg, and visitors to the town, to add their names here to ours. In doing so, we commit ourselves to remain vigilant. As more and more names cover this 12 meter tall lead column, it will gradually be lowered into the ground. One day it will have disappeared completely, and the site of the Harburg monument against fascism will be empty. In the end, it is only we ourselves who can rise up against injustice. [48]

 

A steel-pointed stylus, with which to score the soft lead, was attached at each corner by a length of cable.[49] The names were intended to be a visual echo of the war memorials of another age, the black column of self-inscribed names might thus remind all visitors of their own mortality. However, even the artists were taken aback by what they found after a couple of months: an illegible scrawl of names scratched over names, stars of David, funny faces and swastikas. People had come at night to scrape over all the names, even to pry the lead plating off the base.[50] However, when authorities had spoke to the artists about the possibility of vandalism, Jochen and Esther Gerz had replied, ‘Why not give that phenomenon free rein and allow the monument to document the social temperament in that way?’[51]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harburg’s Monument Against Fascism, designed by Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz, shortly after its unveiling in 1986, before its first sinking.

Illus. 6

 

Memorial graffiti on Harburg’s Monument Against Fascism

Illus. 7

 

As one and a half meter sections were covered with memorial graffiti, the monument was lowered into the ground, into a chamber beneath that is as deep as the column is tall. The faster visitors covered each section, the faster it was lowered into the ground. After the final lowering in November 1993,  nothing was left except the top surface of the monument which was then covered with a burial stone inscribed ‘Harburg’s Monument Against Fascism’[52]  The intended effect was to have returned the burden of memory to the public who had visited and signed the monument. From the beginning, the artists have intended this monument to torment, not reassure or redeem. They have likened it to a great black knife in the back of Germany, slowly being plunged in, each thrust solemnly commemorated by the community.[53]

 

Harburg’s Monument Against Fascism, almost gone

Illus. 8

 

Jochen Gerz would like every memorial to return memory to those who came looking for it but Young reminds us that these monuments are dependent on public knowledge and when the monument disappears, there is a risk of forgetting:

 

If we want [the next generation] to look at the landscape, a landscape of invisible monuments will also be one that demands people who know something. The question is if we will always know enough to bring our memory and history back to these sites. [54]

 

While the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial has been accused of being too proletarian, Rapoport has contested this view with a defence that highlights one criticism of conceptual monuments:

 

Could I have made a stone with a hole in it, and said, “Voila! The Greatness of the Jewish People?” No, I needed to show the heroism, to illustrate it literally in figures everyone, not just artists would respond to. This was to be a public monument after all. And what do human beings respond to? Faces, figures, the human form. I did not want to represent resistance in the abstract: it was not an abstract uprising. It was real.[55]

 

The minimalist architecture of counter-memorials such as Jochen Gerz’s disappearing monument have also aroused considerable controversy and condemnation. Young explains popular resistance to these modernist memorials as due to the inadequacy of these sites to gather together personal memories into a collective space.[56]

 

Abstraction may frustrate the memorial’s capacity as a locus for shared self-image and commonly held ideals. In it’s hermetic and personal vision, abstraction encourages private visions in viewers, which would defeat the communal and collective aims of public memorials.[57]

 

Young argues that though it would seem the specificity of realistic figuration would thwart multiple messages whilst abstract sculpture could accommodate as many meanings as could be projected onto it. In fact, it is almost always the figurative monument like the Warsaw Ghetto Monument that serves as a point of departure for political performances. He says:

 

It is as if figurative sculpture like this were needed to engage viewers with likenesses of people, to evoke an empathic link between viewer and monument that might then be marshalled into particular meaning.[58]

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

Gottfried Helnwein

 

Austrian born Gottfried Helnwein has produced a number of large scale photo mural installations that invite comparisons with Gerz’s counter-monument. Helnwein, though, is dismissive of counter-monuments:

 

There is a big effort now with holocaust memorials and holocaust museums and there are so many of them in Germany now and I look at them and how they do it and I think many of them are meant to also bury the past under all this stone and documentation. They are also very similar and often they are so symbolic, just stones. They are too conceptual, there is no emotion there. Just intellectual concepts, too minimalistic. It is also a way of getting rid of guilt.…[My work] is a different type of trying to force people not to forget or to look at something. To raise the stuff that’s buried and meant to be forgotten. It is very different to making now, decades later, some minamilistic stone monument. That is only to show that the community is really doing something..[59]

 

He echoes the wishes of Jochen Gerz when he claims he wants his work to be not an answer but a question. [60] As Esther and Jochen Gerz intended their monument to be a knife in the back of Germany, Helnwein wants to employ his art ‘like a weapon, like a scalpel so that it touches the viewer.’[61]

 

Unlike Germany’s near obsession with its Nazi past, Austria’s post war persona was constructed around the self-serving myth that they were Hitler’s first victims.[62] Austrian cooperation with Nazi Germany was swept under the carpet. In 1943, a carefully worded statement was issued by American, Soviet and British foreign ministers, in which Austria was openly declared ‘the first free country to fall victim to Hitlerite aggression’.[63] After the war ended, Austria quietly accepted the mantle of martyrdom and was proclaimed ‘liberated’. A full scale de-Nazification program began which left behind few tell-tale signs of the Nazi era. Germany’s painfully self-conscious memorial culture contrasts with Austria’s general ambivalence towards the recent past. Young points out that partly because of the confusion generated in Austria by official memory, and partly because of a reluctance to face their past, Austrians have generally been content to let the Germans do the memorial “dirty work”.[64]

 

Helnwein was born in Vienna in 1948. He described post-war Austria as:

 

A really strange place… everybody was serious and depressed…and the people were unable to say or talk about what happened. Not because they were not willing but because of the amnesia. In school we heard nothing about what happened, total denial, no memory. The only thing I heard was that we were the victim number one, we were the victims, we were conquered; we had nothing to do with it.[65]

 

 From 1965 to 1969 he studied at the Experimental Institute for Higher Graphic Education in Vienna.[66] During this time he decided, in protest against the conformist methods of teaching, to make a portrait of Adolf Hitler.[67] When his tutor saw it, he stormed from the classroom and returned with the school’s entire professional staff, including the director of the institute. The director gave a long winded exculpatory speech where he warned that ‘Whosoever recalls the accursed times of National Socialism is ruining the reputation of the Experimental Institute for Higher Graphic Education’, and the picture was confiscated. Helnwein describes this as:

 

The moment when I sensed for the first time: you can change something with aesthetics, you can get things moving in a very subtle way, you can get even the powerful and strong to slide and totter, anything actually, if you know the weak points and tap at them ever so gently by aesthetic means.       [68]

 

Having graduated from the Institute he refined his artistic strategy at the Vienna Academy of Arts, the same institute that Adolf Hitler was rejected from.[69] 

For a class exhibition at the Künstlerhaus in Vienna in 1971, Helnwin displayed the pastels of disfigured children he had been working on alongside a new version of the notorious Hitler picture. This time it was enclosed in a frame from the thirties which he had acquired from an antique dealer. Reactions to the “Fuhrer picture” were mixed – some viewers were appalled, while one man fell on his knees before the painting revealing himself to be as fervent a Nazi as ever.[70]

 

In 1972 Helnwein held an exhibition in the gallery of the House of the Press in Vienna, which was forced to close after three days following massive protests by the employees and strike threats by the workers council.[71] During my interview with Helnwein he recalled an encounter shortly after this exhibition closed with a journalist from a conservative newspaper. The journalist told him he was disturbed by the pictures he had seen and couldn’t sleep because he dreamt of them. When Helnwein asked the journalist if he had been to war, seen real dead bodies, or killed anyone, the journalist answered “yes of course, it was war.” Helnwein then asked him “but as a news reporter don’t you get pictures of all these horrible things, so bad that you can’t even print them?” and the reporter said he did. Helnwein recalls that he found it really interesting that:

 

To see people dying, to see pictures of actual dead and wounded was no problem and here we have a piece of paper, with tiny little pieces of pigment on it, and that’s all it is really, and that stopped him from sleeping, I don’t understand. I realised at that moment that it is not my pictures, it’s the pictures that they have in the back of their head that’s the problem. Usually they are dormant and asleep but with art you can really break it out and that’s what they really hate.[72]  

 

In 1979, spurred into action by an interview in an Austrian tabloid in which the country's top court psychiatrist, Dr. Heinrich Gross, admitted killing children at Vienna's Am Spiegelgrund Paediatric Unit during the war by poisoning their food, Helnwein painted Lebensunwertes Leben or Life is not Worth Living - a watercolour of a little girl "asleep" on the table, her head in her plate.[73]  

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Lebensunwertes Leben, 1979, by Gottfried Helnwein

Illus. 9

 

Helnwein recalls:

 

He was the most celebrated forensic psychiatrist and a member of the Social Democrats and he had all the medals of honour that you could get and then they found out that he killed 800 children. So the reporter asked “did you poison them?” and [Dr.Gross] said they were looking for a humane way [of killing them] so they came up with putting poison in the food; so when the kids were eating they were not aware that they would die. When I read [the article] I was in shock because somebody had just admitted he had killed 800 children and everybody couldn’t be more relaxed. I thought this should have raised a storm of protest or something but not one voice, not one guy would write to this fucking newspaper, there was nothing. At the same time on National Television for the first time, it was not an anchor man but some guy in television was appearing with out a tie, like with a white shirt but no tie. They got 3,500 letters of protest, they freaked out, people were freaked, this is the end of everything, you know? They were completely upset and I thought something is wrong. Here is a guy with no fucking tie and people think it is the end. Here a guy killed 800 and it was nothing. And I thought OK, maybe it is a reading problem, so I called the guys from the news magazine and I said “Give me a page, I need a page, I will paint an open letter to the guy.” And they said “Ok you can have it in two days” and so I had to paint, day and night. I painted exactly what he said - the girl with the food and her head in the plate. I painted it realistically with watercolours and then I wrote this small thing thanking him and that actually caused a storm of protest and so now suddenly people wrote to this magazine upset about the painting, not about the guy. This tiny little picture started a huge discussion.’[74]

 

Helnwein has always attempted to make works that extend beyond the art scene into the social and political realm and has embraced all the possibilities of technological processes to bring art to the widest possible public. From 1966 he began to take his art out onto the streets in a series of ‘aktions’ or performances which were recorded and documented.[75] In 1973 one of his pictures was used for the cover for Austrian news magazine ‘Profil’ and his earlier stated wish “to be on all the magazine covers of the world” started to become a reality. The German news magazines ‘Der Spiegel’ and ‘Stern’, the American ‘Time Magazine’, ‘L’Espresso’ from Italy, Rolling Stone’ magazine and the German ‘Zeit Magazin’ all used work by Helnwein on their covers.[76] In 2007 the Virtual Museum of Art in the internet based world Second Life opened with a Helnwein retrospective.[77]

 

I hated the gallery system anyway and I was always looking for a demographic form of mass communication…  I wanted to find out how can you force people to look at something that they would rather not be made to look at. I found that images can reach much deeper than words. [78]

 

The two installations I will discuss continue this extension of Helnwein’s works into the public realm. Helnwein produced large scale photo murals which were displayed in Cologne, Germany and Kilkenny, Ireland. He confronts the passer by with images and thus attempts to begin a dialogue, with a possible healing effect.

 

 

Selektion (Ninth November Night)

 

In 1988 Helnwein planned a large installation to commemorate the fifty year anniversary of Kristallnacht entitled ‘Selektion (Ninth November Night)’. The installation consisted of a four-meter-high, hundred-meter-long picture wall with seventeen pictures of local children, running along the railway in a line between the Ludwig museum and the main train station in Cologne. [79]

 

When I did this memorial in 1988, it was the fifty year anniversary of Kristallnacht and I thought Kristallnacht was really a crucial point in time because it was the moment when suddenly the Germans openly went against the Jews. Thousands of synagogues burnt down in one night, all the businesses and stores were destroyed, they were chased in the streets, the people were dead and that was open killing. There could be no doubt for anybody, until then people said it was not that bad. For me, that was the actual beginning of the Holocaust really…I shot all the faces of the children then I put [them next to] this magic word Selektion which means selection; because that was what they were doing. Selecting who should live and who should go to the gas chamber…I always thought that when you look for the essence of this horrible nightmare then I think its really the idea that a small group of people can decide and play God and decide who has the right to live and who does not.[80]

 

However, he had difficulties finding a sponsor, as his planned installation of haunted children’s faces was unlike the muted, conceptualist Holocaust memorials usually commissioned by City Councils in Germany. The city of Cologne refused Helnwein permission to exhibit on city property.[81] In the end, he managed to get permission to use a site privately owned by the railway and had to realize the project at his own expense. Despite initial difficulties Helnwein was pleased with the result.

‘I thought, this is great because now having them along the railway it makes even more sense. It was the railways that deported them to the concentration camps.’[82]

 

File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0 reprocessed by leonid.de with JMagick

Selektion (Ninth November Night) installation in Cologne, Germany, 1988.

Illus. 10

 

The wall stretched from the Ludwig museum in Cologne to its main train station. It was in the city centre and a place through which thousands of people pass every day. [83] Each passer-by was confronted with larger-than-life children’s faces; painted white, they appear almost death like, lined up in a seemingly endless row as if for concentration camp selection. There was much media coverage of the installation and public debate ensued. After two days the installation was vandalised when someone slashed the throats of all the children on the panels.[84] Helnwein’s reaction to the vandalism of his work echoes Gerz’s wish to ‘document the social temperament’ with his disappearing monument:

 

Two days after they were hung somebody cut all the throats and when I saw, I didn’t know what to do, it never shocked me because I think if you show art in public places then the reaction will be a part of whatever it will be, you cant control that. So then I decided to just patch it up roughly and leave it and actually it makes the piece so much more powerful. For me it was always an important part to see a reaction.[85]

 

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Selektion (Ninth November Night) after the installation was vandalized, Cologne, Germany, 1988.

Illus. 11

 

Like the concept of the counter-monument discussed earlier, Helnwein’s murals create memorial spaces where the aim is not to embody the memory but give it back to the community, not to console but to provoke, not to remain fixed but to change and to demand interaction from the viewer.

 

 

Kilkenny Arts Festival

 

For an exhibition of his works at the 2001 Kilkenny Arts festival in Ireland, Helnwein hung large photomurals of his paintings on buildings around the city. He included reproductions of his three Epiphanies that were created between 1996 and 1998. These works blend Nazi and religious imagery in a conflation of photography and painting.[86] In 1996, using a computer painting and ink jet method, Helnwein painted a series of Madonnas in which he adopted images of the Virgin and Child taken from well known paintings by Leonardo or Caravaggio and documentary photographs from the Nazi era and transferred them onto canvas. He then over-painted the image with oil and acrylic allowing the paint to subsume and become coexistent with the photograph. Helnwein’s Epiphany I (Adoration of the Magi) is a large (210 x 333 cm) painting in blue monochrome depicting the Adoration of the Magi. But the Madonna is a young Aryan maiden, and she presents a Christ Child who looks like a young Adolf Hitler. The wise men all wear SS and Reichswehr uniforms. They stand attentively, with approving respect, next to the Virgin. The most prominent Nazi holds a document in his hands, while the soldier on the right seems to examine the child, perhaps to see whether he is circumcised.[87]

 

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Epiphany I (Adoration of the Magi) by Gottfried Helnwein, original painting, 1996.

Illus. 12

 

Epiphany II (Adoration of the Shepherds) again seamlessly melds a version of the Adoration of the Magi with a scenario from the Third Reich. The painting depicts a bare breasted Madonna-like mother with a child on her lap. The child points with closed eyes at the surrounding crowd of onlookers – some of them in Nazi uniforms. Once again the Madonna and Child take the place of Hitler in an old propaganda photograph.[88]  Robert Flynn Johnson observes:

 

The apparent blasphemy of this scene of Nazi evil encountering the Madonna and Child in a stadium setting is not so clear cut for Helnwein. Rather it is a more symbolic case of unconditional evil, the Third Reich, meeting "conditional evil", the Catholic Church, particularly in light of Pope Pius XII’s alleged moral complicity during World War II.[89]

 

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‘Epiphany II (Adoration of the Shepherds)’ by Gottfried Helnwein, original painting, 1998.

Illus. 13

 

Epiphany III (Presentation in the Temple)’ is also based on a documentary photograph, this time featuring World War I British prisoners of war, disfigured by shell splinters. They are standing around a table on which a girl is lying, with the soldier on the far right paradoxically bearing Adolf Hitler’s features. Here the Presentation suggests a sacrifice; the iconography refers to the “anatomy lesson” which was a popular theme in 17th Century Dutch painting: a group portrait depicting scientists standing around a corpse or a skeleton.[90]

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Epiphany III (Presentation in the Temple) by Gottfried Helnwein, original painting, 1998.

Illus. 14

 

Helnwein supplemented the reproductions of these existing paintings with a new set of works created specifically for his installation at the Kilkenny Arts Festival. He made a series of portraits of local children which echoes his earlier Selektion (Ninth November Night) installation in Cologne. Ninety children were photographed by the artist and nine were displayed in central locations around the city, enlarged up to nine meters high.[91]

 

 

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Mary-Sheila Walsh, Aoife Connelly and Eimear Connelly by Gottfried Helnwein, 2001.

Illus. 15

 

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Epiphany III (Presentation at the Temple) by Gottfried Helnwein, Installation in Kilkenny City.

Illus. 16

 

 

I thought, a medieval city, it would be great to make it a gallery and put the art on the streets. So people that don’t even know about it will look at art and just walk through the streets and be surprised. I also photographed children from Kilkenny and blew them up and I wanted people to be involved in it. To be a part of the life, to put it right in to the beautiful little city and I thought this is a Roman Catholic country, Ireland. I expected there would be some reaction because of the religious content.[92]

 

The installation in Kilkenny was also vandalized; Epiphany I (The Adoration of the Magi) was splashed with red paint and a photograph of a child was set alight.[93] A local newspaper The Kilkenny People reported that:

 

The images have been a major talking point since before the festival began. A former mayor of the city, Mr Paul Cuddihy, initially objected to a painting being hung on the City Hall for fear it might be misinterpreted as lending support to Nazism.[94]

 

Members of the City Council were shown an image of Epiphany II and told an enlarged copy was to be displayed on the City Hall, although Helnwein had already decided to use another location. The debate over whether the images should be displayed caused the Kilkenny Arts Festival to issue a statement to the press explaining:

 

The subject matter of Helnwein's work are the often-difficult subjects of prejudice, hatred and violence. Despite their difficult nature it is important that these subjects are addressed and debate takes place regarding issues like Nazi-ism, fascism and feelings of hatred towards immigrants and minority groups. This is the subject matter of the work of Gottfried Helnwein and the purpose is to promote public debate…In the Ireland of today where we are faced with increasing incidents of hostility towards immigrant and minority groups this is a legitimate subject for exploration through artistic work. It is our belief that it is appropriate and reasonable to use public buildings to exhibit art for general public display in a festival which is staged for the enjoyment and stimulation of the people of Kilkenny and visitors to the city.[95]

 

Chapter 4

Representing the Holocaust

 

Helnwein’s work, and the controversy its hanging has caused, highlights the problems inherent in Holocaust imagery. Ever since the Second World War intellectuals have debated whether the Holocaust is at all representable. The question is how an event such as the Holocaust can or should be represented and what forms its images can or ought to take. This question raises two different issues, how the Holocaust can be represented and how it should.[96]  ‘To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric’ wrote Theodor Adorno in 1949, in Cultural Criticism and Society. [97] This dictum has certainly played a powerful role in the ethical and aesthetic debates surrounding aesthetic representations of the Holocaust. Adorno subsequently qualified and amended this statement in his book Negative Dialectics;

 

‘Perennial suffering has as much right to expression as a tortured man has to scream; hence it may have been wrong to say that after Auschwitz you could no longer write poems.’[98]

 

Adorno’s statement has nevertheless come to function as a moral and aesthetic dictate for the post-war era.[99] The moral imperatives for ‘respectable’ Holocaust education and studies, as dictated by Terrence Des Pres are:

 

1)    The Holocaust shall be represented, in its totality, as a unique event, as a special case and a kingdom of its own, above or below or apart from history.

2)    Representations of the Holocaust shall be as accurate and faithful as possible to the facts and conditions of the event, without change or manipulation for any reason – artistic reasons included.

3)    The Holocaust shall be approached as a solemn or even sacred event, with a seriousness admitting no response that might obscure its enormity or dishonour its dead.[100]

 

Helnwein sets up an aesthetic distance to the horror in his work by technically and electronically heavily treating the images. With the aid of computer technology and multiple reproductions he has endowed the documentary photographs of horribly maimed faces in Epiphany III with an alluring aesthetic gloss.[101] One could argue that the extermination of the Jews of Europe is as accessible to both representation and interpretation as any other historical event. However, we are dealing with an event which tests our traditional conceptual and representational categories and Helnwein’s aestheticizing of the horror of the Holocaust is morally contentious. Saul Friedlander in his book Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the Final Solution, describes the Holocaust as an “event at the limits.” [102] He explains that what turns the ‘Final Solution’ to an event at the limits is:

 

The very fact that it is the most radical form of genocide encountered in history: the wilful, systematic, industrially organised, largely successful attempt to exterminate an entire human group within twentieth-century Western society. [103] 

 

Berel Lang uses a similar notion of the limits of Holocaust representation in the title of her book Holocaust Representation: Art within the Limits of History and Ethics, she acknowledges that the phrase ‘art within the limits’ would be a provocation even if the limits were left unspecified. Lang writes that Adorno’s assertion of barbarism – not the impossibility, but the barbarism of writing lyric poetry after Auschwitz – is one formulation of this perceived representational limit. Although, she argues a justification might be argued for barbarism against still greater barbarism – against denial for example, or against forgetfulness. On this basis, Lang concedes that representations may be warranted as within the limits, to serve a purpose in calling attention to the historical occurrence itself.[104] 

 

For a generation of artists and critics born after the Holocaust, the experience of Nazi genocide is necessarily vicarious and hyper-mediated. They haven’t experienced the Holocaust itself but only the event of its being passed down to them. [105] The mass appeal of National Socialism in Germany after 1933 was in a number of ways obviously linked to aesthetic and artistic phenomena. Fascism could even be defined as a form of government which depended on aestheticized politics, featuring, for example, the marshalling of masses in geometrical formations and the expression of party-political and governmental functions through uniforms, insignia and ranking symbols.[106] The aesthetics of political symbolism play a part in all systems of mass politics, the difference in fascism is the frequency, intensity and omnipresence of such practices. [107]  Do works of art about the Holocaust tell us more about the human experience under fascism or our potential to be drawn to it? While most art work about the Holocaust carries an anti-war message, some critics argue that it can implicate the viewer in a fascination with the inevitably aestheticized representations of violence. Historian Omer Bartov, for example, has expressed his sense of ‘unease’ with what he describes as the ‘cool aesthetic pleasure’ that derives from the more ‘highly stylized’ of contemporary Holocaust representations.[108] What troubles Bartov is the ways in which such art may draw on the very power of Nazi imagery it seeks to expose. Susan Sontag inquired into this dilemma in her essay Fascinating Fascism first published in 1974. [109] She expressed grave moral concern about the meanings inherent in, and audiences served by, a spate of fascist aesthetics and Nazi imagery in contemporary photography and film. Saul Friedlander raised the question again several years ago in his own profound meditations on ‘fascinating fascism’, in which the historian wonders whether a brazen new generation of artists bent on examining their own obsession with Nazism adds to our understanding of the Third Reich or only recapitulates a fatal attraction to it.[110]

 

While Helnwein’s use of Nazi imagery may seem offensive on the surface, James E. Young suggests that the artist using Nazi imagery might ask:

 

Is it the Nazi imagery itself that offends, or the artists aesthetic manipulations of such imagery? Does art become a victim of the imagery it depicts? Or does it actually tap into and thereby exploit the repugnant power of Nazi imagery as a way merely to shock and move its viewers? Or is it both, and if so, can these artists have it both ways? Where is the line between historical exhibition and sensationalist exhibitionism? [111]

 

Although Helnwein argues that his intention is never to shock:

 

What is shocking?...Shock is always the reaction of a society based on their belief system and their rules; so the only thing a piece of art can do is touch or challenge some of the arbitrary stupid rules. That’s why I always like to quote Marcel Duchamp’s concept of art, art is the bipolar product, it is 50% the artist and 50% the public, the onlooker, he said. And what happens between these two poles, something like electricity, that is art. That comes the closest to what I think art should be, so what rules can you have? [112]

 

Conclusion

 

I asked how an event such as the Holocaust can or should be represented and what forms its images can or ought to take. Holocaust art tends to be unreflectively reduced by critics to how it can promote Holocaust education and remembrance. In the context of Holocaust education and remembrance, historical genres and discourses, such as the documentary, memoir or testimony might be viewed as more effective and morally responsible in teaching the historical events than more imaginative discourses. I have discussed the problems inherent in monuments as sites of memory, both figurative and abstract, due to their vulnerability to appropriation and multiple interpretations. Accordingly, Helnwein’s work is also intrinsically problematic because it is imaginative not documentary.[113] However, the prospect of constraining freedom of expression would actually mirror fascist politics. Critics agree that knowledge of the Holocaust is an important and a desirable goal of public education (whether formal or informal). Thus, given the diverse tastes and capacities of groups and individuals and the variety of possible representations or images, there is really nothing more to be said, certainly nothing to be criticised, no limits to be set or even hoped for in Holocaust representation.

 


 

Bibliography

 

Š      Lang, Berel Holocaust Representation: Art within the Limits of History and Ethics, The John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore and London, 2000.

Š      Lang, Berel (ed.) Writing and the Holocaust, Holmes and Meier: New York, 1988.

Š      Sergiusz, Michalski Public Monuments: Art in Political Bondage 1870-1997, Reaktion Books: London, 1998.

Š      Taylor, Brandon and van der Will, Wilfried (eds.) The Nazification of Art: Art, Design, Music, Architecture and Film in the Third Reich The Winchester Press: Winchester, Hampshire, 1990.

Š      Michaud, Eric translated by Lloyd, Janet The Cult of Art in Nazi Germany, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2004.

Š      Nora, Pierre translated by Marc Roudebush, “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire”, Representations 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, (Spring, 1989).

Š      Gibson, Michael “Hamburg: Sinking Feelings,” ARTnews 86 (Summer 1987)

Š      Gordon, Adi and Goldberg, Amos ‘Interview with Prof. James E. Young’ May 24 1998, Shoah Resource Centre, International School for Holocaust Studies: http://www1.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Microsoft%20Word%20-%203852.pdf

Š      Konno, Yuichi interview with Helnwein in Yaso Magazine 6th September, 2003.

Š      Author’s interview with Gottfried Helnwein 10th February 2008 in Bonn, Germany.

Š      Connolly, Katie “Helnwein, the man who used his own blood to paint Hitler” The Guardian, May 16th 2000.

Š      Virtual Museum of Art: http://www.vmoa-online.de/cms/

Š      Kilkenny Arts Festival exhibition catalogue, 2001.

Š      Chris Dooley article “Gardai Investigate Kilkenny Art Attacks”, The Irish Times, August 18, 2001.

Š      Kilkenny Arts Festival statement to the press in an article by Sean Keane in Kilkenny People, 27 July 2001.

Š      Saltzman, Lisa Anselm Kiefer and Art after Auschwitz, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1999.

Š      Friedlander, Saul (ed.) in Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the “Final Solution” Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Š      Friedlander, Saul Reflections of Nazism: An Essay on Kitsch and Death, New York: Harper & Row, 1984.

Š      Bartov, Omer Murder in our Midst: The Holocaust, Industrial Killing, and Representation, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Š      Kleeblatt, Norman L. (ed.) Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery / Recent Art, New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, 2002.

Š      Interview with Brendan Maher in Start magazine.

 



[1] City Council Resolution ‘Commemorating the 68th Anniversary of Kristallnacht and Recognizing the Artistic Contributions of Gottfried Helnwein in Keeping the Memory of the Holocaust Alive’ in the Journal of the City Council of Philadelphia, 2006.

[2] Bollas, Christopher Cracking Up: The Work of Unconscious Experience, London and New York: Routledge, 1995, 198.

[3] Bunbury, Alex ‘Artist’s Impression’ Irish Tatler, 2002. 

[4] Zawrel, Peter ‘Against Harmlessness in Art’ Apokalypse exhibition catalogue, Niederosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Donaufestival, 1999, 12.

[5] Forty, Adrian ‘Introduction’ in Forty and Kuchler (eds.) The Art of Forgetting, New Haven and London: Berg, 1999, 2.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Young, James E. ‘The Biography of a Memorial Icon’ in Representations No. 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, Spring, 1989, 69-106.

[8] Young, James E At Memory’s Edge: After Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture, New Haven and London: Yale University Press: 2000, 127-144.

[9] Adorno, Theodor ‘Cultural Criticism and Society’ in Prisms (trans.) Weber, Samuel and Sherry, Cambridge, Massachusets: The MIT Press, 1992, 34. For further discussion see Lang, Berel Holocaust Representation: Art within the Limits of History and Ethics, The John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore and London, 2000.

[10] Young, James E. The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning, Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1993, 3.

[11] Young, James E. ‘The Biography of a Memorial Icon’ in Representations No. 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, Spring, 1989, 69-106.

[12] Ibid. 69.

[13] Ibid. 75.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Rapoport, Nathan ‘Memoir of the Warsaw Ghetto Monument’ Young, James E. (ed.) The Art of Memory: Holocaust Memorials in History, Munich and New York: Prestel, 1994, 106.

[16]Young, James E. ‘The Biography of a Memorial Icon’ in Representations No. 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, Spring, 1989, 88-89.

[17] Ibid. 89.

[18] Ibid. 73.

[19] Ibid. 74.

[20] Ibid. 82.

[21] Ibid. 93.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid. 96

[24] Ibid.

[25] Young, James. E ‘Yad Vashem: Israel’s Memorial Authority’ in The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning, Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1993, 245.

[26] Young, James E. ‘The Biography of a Memorial Icon’ in Representations No. 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, Spring, 1989, 96-97.

[27] Ibid. 82.

[28] King, Alex ‘Remembering and Forgetting in the Public Memorials of the Great War’ in Forty and Kuchler (eds.) The Art of Forgetting, Berg: Oxford and New York, 1999, 147.

[29] Sergiusz, Michalski Public Monuments: Art in Political Bondage 1870-1997, Reaktion Books: London, 1998, 83.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Rowlands, Michael ‘Remembering to Forget: Sublimation as Sacrifice in War Memorials’ in Forty and Kuchler (eds.) The Art of Forgetting, Berg: Oxford and New York, 1999, 130.

[32] Ibid. 142.

[33] Young, James E. At Memory’s Edge: After Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture, New Haven and London: Yale University Press: 2000, 7.

[34] Taylor, Brandon and van der Will, Wilfried (eds.) ‘Introduction’ in The Nazification of Art: Art, Design, Music, Architecture and Film in the Third Reich The Winchester Press: Winchester, Hampshire, 1990, 7.

[35] Young, James E. At Memory’s Edge: After Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture, New Haven and London: Yale University Press: 2000, 95-96.

[36] Selz, Peter ‘Helnwein: The Artist as Provocateur’ in  Helnwein exhibition catalogue, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg: Konemann, 1999, 37-40.

[37] Ibid. p.41

[38] Ibid.

[39] Young, James E. ‘The Biography of a Memorial Icon’ in Representations No. 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, Spring, 1989, 83.

[40] Ibid. 80.

[41] Nora, Pierre trans. by Marc Roudebush, ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire’, Representations 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, Spring, 1989, 13.

[42] Young, James E. The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning, Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1993, 5.

[43] Ibid. 27-48.

[44] Ibid. 7.

[45] Ibid. 33-34.

[46] Ibid. 28.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Ibid. 30.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid. 35.

[51] Gibson, Michael ‘Hamburg: Sinking Feelings’, ARTnews 86 , Summer, 1987, 106-107.

[52] Young, James E. The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning, Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1993, 30.

[53] Ibid. 34.

[54] Gordon, Adi and Goldberg, Amos ‘Interview with Prof. James E. Young’, Shoah Resource Centre, Yad Vashem, Israel, May 24 1998, 15.

[55] James E. Young interview with Nathan Rapoport, 22 February 1986 cited in Young, James E. ‘The Biography of a Memorial Icon’ in Representations No. 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, Spring, 1989, 82.

[56] Rowlands, Michael ‘Remembering to Forget: Sublimation as Sacrifice in War Memorials’ in Forty and Kuchler (eds.) The Art of Forgetting, New Haven and London: Berg, 1999, 129.

[57] Young, James E. ‘The Biography of a Memorial Icon’ in Representations No. 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, Spring, 1989, 101.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Author’s Interview

[60] Konno, Yuichi interview with Helnwein in Yaso Magazine, 6th September, 2003.

[61] Honnef, Klaus ‘The Subversive Power of Art’ in Helnwein exhibition catalogue, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg: Konemann, 1999, 284.

[62] Young James E. At Memory’s Edge: After Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture, New Haven and London: Yale University Press: 2000, 110.

[63] Young, James E. The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning, Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1993, 91.

[64] Ibid. 92.

[65] Author’s Interview

[66] Biography  in Helnwein exhibition catalogue, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg: Konemann, 1999, 405.

[67] Zawrel, Peter “Against Harmlessness in Art” in Apokalypse exhibition catalogue, Landesmuseum, Donaufestival, 1999, 11.

[68] Honnef, Klaus “The Subversive Power of Art” in Helnwein exhibition catalogue, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg: Konemann, 1999, 196.

[69] Ibid. 206.

[70] Ibid. 234-237.

[71] Ibid. 246.

[72] Author’s interview.

[73] Connolly, Katie ‘Helnwein, the man who used his own blood to paint Hitler’ The Guardian, May 16th 2000.

[74] Author’s Interview.

[75] Biography in Helnwein exhibition catalogue, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg: Konemann, 1999, 405.

[76] Honnef, Klaus ‘The Subversive Power of Art’ in Helnwein exhibition catalogue, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg: Konemann, 1999, 280.

[77] Virtual Museum of Art: http://www.vmoa-online.de/cms/

[78] Author’s Interview.

[79] Biography in Apokalypse exhibition catalogue, Niederosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Donaufestival, 1999, 78.

[80] Author’s Interview.

[81] Selz, Peter ‘Helnwein: The Artist as Provocateur’ in Helnwein exhibition catalogue, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg: Konemann, 1999, 54.

[82] Author’s Interview.

[83] Selz, Peter ‘Helnwein: The Artist as Provocateur’ in Helnwein exhibition catalogue, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg: Konemann, 1999, 54.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Author’s Interview.

[86] Zawrel, Peter “Against Harmlessness in Art” in Apokalypse exhibition catalogue, Niederosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Donaufestival, 1999, 17.

[87] Selz, Peter “Helnwein: The Artist as Provocateur” in Helnwein exhibition catalogue, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg: Konemann, 1999, 74.

[88] Moroney, Mic Kilkenny Festival exhibition Catalogue

[89] http://www.helnwein.com/news/update/artikel_634.html

[90] Zawrel, Peter “Against Harmlessness in Art” in Apokalypse exhibition catalogue, Niederosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Donaufestival, 1999, 17.

[91]  O’Donoghue, Clare ‘Introduction’ in  Kilkenny Arts Festival exhibition catalogue, 2001.

[92] Author’s Interview.

[93] Chris Dooley article ‘Gardai Investigate Kilkenny Art Attacks’, The Irish Times, August 18, 2001.

[94] Ibid.

[95] Kilkenny Arts Festival statement to the press in an article by Sean Keane in Kilkenny People, 27 July 2001.

[96] Lang, Berel Holocaust Representation: Art within the Limits of History and Ethics, The John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore and London, 2000, 4.

[97] Adorno, Theodor ‘Cultural Criticism and Society’ in Prisms trans. Weber,  Samuel and Sherry, Cambridge, Massachussets: The MIT Press, 1992, 34.

[98] Adorno, Theodor, Negative Dialectics E.B. Ashton, trans. Continuum: New York, 1973, 362.

[99] Saltzman, Lisa  Anselm Kiefer and Art after Auschwitz, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1999, 17.

[100] Des Pres, Terrence ‘Holocaust Laughter?’ in Lang, Berel (ed.) Writing and the Holocaust, Holmes and Meier: New York, 1988, 217.

[101] Honnef, Klaus ‘The Subversive Power of Art’ in Helnwein exhibition catalogue, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg: Konemann, 1999, 274.

[102] Friedlander, Saul (ed.) ‘Introduction’ in Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the “Final Solution” Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, 1992, 2-3.

[103] Ibid.

[104] Lang, Berel ‘The Representation of Limits’ in Friedlander, Saul (ed.) in Probing the Limits of Representation: Nazism and the ‘Final Solution’ Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press, 1992.

[105] Young, James E. ‘Foreword: Looking into the Mirrors of Evil’ in Kleeblatt, Norman L. (ed.) Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery / Recent Art, New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, 2002, xvii.

[106] Taylor, Brandon and van der Will, Wilfried (Eds) The Nazification of Art: Art, Design, music, Architecture and Film in the Third Reich Winchester, Hampshire:The Winchester Press, 1990, 1.

[107] Ibid.

[108] Bartov, Omer Murder in our Midst: The Holocaust, Industrial Killing, and Representation, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996, 8.

[109] Kleeblatt, Norman L. ‘The Nazi Occupation of the White Cube’ Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery / Recent Art New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, 2002, 7.

[110] Friedlander, Saul Reflections of Nazism: An Essay on Kitsch and Death, New York: Harper & Row, 1984, 19.

[111] Young, James E. ‘Foreword: Looking into the Mirrors of Evil’ in Kleeblatt, Norman L. (ed.) Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery / Recent Art New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, 2002, xvii.

[112] Author’s Interview.

[113] Van Alphen, Ernst ‘Playing the Holocaust’ in Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery / Recent Art New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, 2002, 71.