A Swedish visual artist is being accused of disturbing the peace of the dead and desecrating human remains for usinga solution made up of equalparts water and Holocaust victim ashesto paint his latest workof art.
Carl Michael vonHausswolff sayshe visited the infamous Majdanek concentration camp in1989 and swiped some ashesfrom the camp's crematorium.
Some 360,000 people are believed to have died at Majdanek,of which 144,000 were executed by gas chamber or othermeans.
"In 2010 I pulled out the jar of ashesand decided to 'do something' with it," vonHausswolff says.
I took out a few sheets of watercolour paper and decided to cover just a rectangular space with ashes mixed with water. When I stepped back and looked at the pictures, they 'spoke' to me: figuresappeared... as if the ashes contained energy or memories or 'souls' from people... people tortured, tormented and murdered by other people in one of the most ruthlesswarsof the 20th century.
The resulting art exhibit — Memory Works— is presently on display at the Martin Bryder Gallery in Lund. Asked about the controversy surrounding the piece, Bryder told the Daily Telegraph,"please come to the gallery, see the painting and judge for yourselveswhether it's controversial."
Salomon Schulman, a prominent member of the Jewish community inSweden, wrote an op-en for a local paper in which he called the painting "revolting." "I'm never going to step foot inside this gallery to view thisdesecration of Jewish bodies," Schulmanwrote. "Who knows — maybe some of the ashescome from some of my relatives."
A criminal investigation hasbeenlaunched by Swedish police,but it remains unclear if theft of ashes inPoland constitutesa crime inSweden.
[photo via Facebook]
DEC 7, 2012
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