German Art About War Today and a Century Ago: A Curator’s View

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/

Abstract

The First World War was a true caesura for mankind, also including the world of art. In its beginning, most German artists supported it, similar to many other intellectuals. The realities of the first global war turned artists such as Ernst Barlach into pacifists. Especially in Germany, expressionism was often chosen to address the horrors of war. Today, only a few artists are still well-known, such as Otto Dix, while the majority and their powerful works need to be rediscovered. German pacifism is deeply rooted in the dreadful experiences of both World Wars, and not the least of bearing the responsibility of those wars, the European division of the Cold War, and the Holocaust. 70 years after the end of the Second World War, pacifism is still strong in Germany - even to the extent that people shun away from securitypolitical realities. But while you might not be interested in war, war may be interested in you. Thus, how do German artists cope with war and peace today, which conflicts are addressed and which approaches are used? To what an extent is the Great War still a subject of German art - now, in its centenary that is such a massive issue in countries like Australia, Belgium, France and the UK? How has global terror influenced German art? As perpetual chameleon, war always adapts itself to changing realities. Artists will continue to transform these societal conditions into moving works. 


Keywords

9/11, Bundeswehr, contemporary art, cultures of commemoration, First World War, Germany, terrorism

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Professor
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faruk
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)