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Infelicitous Efficacy: Alfred Hrdlicka’s Memorial against War and Fascism
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2396-7153
2019 (English)In: Articulo. Journal of Urban Research, E-ISSN 1661-4941, Vol. 19Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Austrian sculptor Alfred Hrdlicka’s Monument against War and Fascism (1988/91) in central Vienna is the focal point of this article, which asks what contested images in public places do. Hrdlicka’s memorial is treated as a symptom of the changing Austrian memory culture of the late 1980s. We locate the memorial in the context of its realisation and reflect on the performative force, which results from its central sculpture and point of contention: the bronze figure of the so-called Street-washing Jew. This visual element caused prominent after-effects such as public discussions and artistic interventions. Two such interventions by artists Steven Cohen (2007) and Ruth Beckermann (2015) will be briefly invoked in relation to what we argue is this memorial’s blind spot. In their own distinct performative ways, all three works make visible how Austrian participations in the Nazi crimes are being negotiated in the public space over a period of 30 years. However, since only Hrdlicka’s monument is permanently installed, its central image echoes a memory culture in transformation no longer valid.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 19
Keywords [en]
Alfred Hrdlicka, Steven Cohen, Ruth Beckermann, Austrian Holocaust memory, memorials, after-images, performativity
National Category
Art History
Research subject
Art History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-167272DOI: 10.4000/articulo.4014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-167272DiVA, id: diva2:1298522
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 421-2014-1289Available from: 2019-03-24 Created: 2019-03-24 Last updated: 2019-03-25Bibliographically approved

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