The representation of violence as evil in contemporary art: the power of the image in Kiefer, Richter, and Bin Laden

W. Stoker

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

How can violence as evil be represented in art and what do works of art evoke in the viewer? Two closely related questions on the representation of violence as evil are discussed. The first is whether there is an ethical limit to the representation of evil, that is, the issue posed with respect to the (im)possibility of Holocaust art. Works by Anselm Kiefer are compared to Holocaust art in the exhibition Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery /Recent Art (New York, 2002). The second question concerns the difference between art and life with respect to the representation of evil. Bin Laden’s live image of 9/11 is compared to Richter’s painting September. The former is life as a reality show; Bin Laden’s image can petrify the viewer. The latter is art, and Richter’s style of blurred realism distances the viewer from the event so that he can arrive at a moral and political position regarding terrorism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-443
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for Philosophy of Religion
Volume78
Issue number4/5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Volume 78, 2017 - Issue 4-5: Evil

Keywords

  • Art, Evil, Aesthetics

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