The Holocaust has often been conceptualized in terms of «negative sublime» (J.F. Lyotard), as an event that defies representation because of the overwhelming magnitude of its horror. This negative sublime has been experienced in radically different ways (and on a totally incomparable ethical ground) by the victims and the perpetrators, sparking different aesthetic responses in postwar art and popular culture. For the victims, the sublime experience has mostly been translated into a non-figurative aesthetics derived from avant-garde/modernist art and inspired from the tradition of Jewish aniconism. Nevertheless, two examples analysed in this essay – a sequence from the film La vita è bella by Roberto Benigni (1997) and some paintings by Slovenian artist and former Dachau prisoner Zoran Music from the cycle We Are Not the Last (1970-1976) – show that Holocaust art has occasionally chosen a figurative aesthetics, resorting to the iconography of Romantic sublime as displayed in the landscapes of German painter Caspar David Friedrich. From the point of view of the perpetrators, on the other hand, the negative sublime of the Holocaust has been experienced in terms of Rausch (elation, euphoria for the grandiosity of the crime), engendering in postwar art (especially since the late Seventies) an aesthetics that historian Saul Friedlander has described as «kitsch of death». Some pages from Jonathan Littell’s controversial novel Les Bienviellentes (2006) and a sequence from the film Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, 1993) show, respectively, the latest reflection of the Nazi-sublime and the final deconstruction of its appeal.
La Shoah e l’immagine del sublime. Carnefici, vittime, spettatori / Vitiello, Guido. - In: ARABESCHI. - ISSN 2282-0876. - :1(2013), pp. 134-144.
|Titolo:||La Shoah e l’immagine del sublime. Carnefici, vittime, spettatori|
VITIELLO, GUIDO (Corresponding author)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Citazione:||La Shoah e l’immagine del sublime. Carnefici, vittime, spettatori / Vitiello, Guido. - In: ARABESCHI. - ISSN 2282-0876. - :1(2013), pp. 134-144.|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||01a Articolo in rivista|