Wolf Vostell, Endogene Depression (Version Los Angeles), 1980
Art After the Shoah
Jul 8 – Oct 30, 2022
Kunsthaus Dahlem
Berlin, Germany

Art After the Shoah / Wolf Vostell in Dialogue with Boris Lurie: Two artists, one theme. When Wolf Vostell (1932–1998) and Boris Lurie (1924–2008) met in the 1960s, they soon shared more than a deeply felt friendship. Both adopted political positions with their art, both contended with the reappraisal of the inconceivable horrors of the Holocaust, and both opposed war, cruelty and crimes against humanity with every means at their disposal. Their raw works resist the simple consumption that appeared to them as an abomination of the art business. The works of the two artists seem more relevant than ever today, as they rely on a kind of shock therapy, with which the attention of the audience is drawn to the continuity of violence and contempt for humanity.

Select works by Boris Lurie enter into a dialogue with Wolf Vostell in the exhibition. The two artists had been very close friends since the 1960s. Lurie grew up in Riga and experienced the horrors of the Shoah as a Jew at first hand. Vostell strived to relate to these traumatic experiences as a German. An increasingly intensive exchange developed between the two artists.

Lurie’s art was not aimed at eliciting sympathy for the victims of the Shoah, “but instead at horrifying.” In his works, he repeatedly juxtaposed the mounds of naked corpses of the Holocaust with titillating pin-ups as products of what was, in his opinion, the same inhuman system. His declared objective was to tear the public out of its complacent passivity and bring home to it the continuation of criminal systems. The two artist friends pursued similar goals and strategies, not only thematically, but also stylistically and formally. The exhibition at Kunsthaus Dahlem traces the many parallels in terms of style and content in detail for the first time.

Curator of the exhibition: Eckhart J. Gillen.

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