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Pollock, Griselda: "What Does a Woman Want? Art Investigating Death in Charlotte Salomon’s ›Leben? Oder Theater?‹." In: Art History 30 (2007), S. 383–405. 
Resource type: Journal Article
Languages: englisch
Peer reviewed
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8365.2007.00551.x
BibTeX citation key: Pollock2007
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Categories: General
Keywords: "Leben? Oder Theater?", Benjamin. Walter, Deutschland, Kunst, Randformen des Comics, Salomon. Charlotte
Creators: Pollock
Collection: Art History
Abstract
An art work that refuses the boundaries of word and image, image and music, that was made in defiance of art history's preferred models of style, movement and period, Charlotte Salomon's vast interdisciplinary project ›Leben? oder Theater?‹ (1941–42) challenges art history but responds well to models of feminist reading of visual narrative and semiotics proposed by Mieke Bal's practice of cultural analysis and working with concepts. Viewed since its belated discovery as a largely autobiographical text, Charlotte Salomon's huge work is here examined through the lens of two concepts: Benjamin's ›theatre of memory‹ and Braccha Ettinger's idea of ›art working‹. Taking seriously the interrogative form of the title, the article asks both how an art work can be an investigation and what this art work was questioning. Close reading of key images that explore the inner worlds of three women that form a counter series to the overt narrative sequence of the final text, the text is analytically ›listened to‹ in order to plot out the nature of the questions it poses about life, death, creativity through a memorial restaging of the lives and deaths of four women and one man. Focusing on the visual strategies in the paintings, the visual and acoustic leitmotifs that pictorially define the major ›players‹, and tracing the semiotic and affective freight of the colour blue, the article examines the journey the work performed for the artist through the prism of Ettinger's proposal about ›art as a transport station of trauma‹ that might open up to trans-subjective border space in which the trauma of loss can be encountered and worked through.
  
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