Reading Response- Young End of the Monument

This chapter opens with the description of a proposal for the 1995 competition for a memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. Artist Horst Hoheisel proposed the unconventional idea of blowing up the Brandenburger Tor spreading the dust of the remains and covering them with granite plates. The idea was to decimate a part of German history to commemorate the decimation of an entire people by the Germans.

The chapter deals with the shift in the creation of monuments. Monuments have shifted in their construction and reflect the artistic environments, and have turned more and more to the reflection of a loss or absence by using negative space. We have seen this reflection of loss in Lin’s Vietnam Memorial and this chapter discusses Hoheisel’s response to a Jewish fountain that was destroyed in Kassel by the Nazis. Hoheisel’s monument to the Aschrott fountain is a mirror image of the old one “to rescue the history of this place as a wound.”

The chapter then discusses Rachel Whiteread’s Judenplatz Memorial in Vienna. The monument is a structure made of books but the spines are facing inwards. This memorializes the way that the events will never truly be understood by those who were not directly affected by the events, and also the Austrian Jewish writers and their contributions to Austria.

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