Saturday, 16 April 2011

More Berlin.
Holocaust memorial.
Freya's head protruding there ....

When arriving at the Holocaust memorial, we were naively unsure as to whether we were in the right place. Me and a couple of mates began exploring the vast maze of concrete, taking tourist-like shots, pointing in no particular direction, until one person climbed up onto one of the cubes of concrete, and was told by some guard type officer to get down. We were in the right place, and felt instantly embarrassed, and concerned as to whether such antics could cause offence. Looking at the piece through newly learned eyes it had a completely different feel. A vast bleak area of grey and black. The stone was cold, and the edges hard. It was dark and morbid, it cast cold shadows and stood still and strong. It was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and  consists of a 19,000 square metres (4.7 acres) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae" , arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.  According to Eisenman's project text, the stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. Some have said the piece memorial is too abstract, and some have pointed out that many thousands of non-jews died during the holocaust but are excluded from mention in the memorial. Im still undecided as to whether I deem it a fitting memorial. Its very bleak, i'll give it that, but it's also face-less. There is no sense of humanity or soul. I suppose due to the massive numbers of lives that were lost in the holocaust, it would be very difficult to create a memorial that encompasses, and illustrates individuals, rather than simply faceless numbers/figures. Aesthetically though, it's striking, and can't be over-looked, which could be all that really matters.

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