In this article, adapted in 2000, Professor James Young of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, fully reflects on the questions raised by the Aschrott-Brunnen Monument. as well as other examples of "counter-monuments".
The Holocaust and Historical Trauma in Contemporary Visual Culture
MEMORY, COUNTER-MEMORY, AND THE END OF THE MONUMENT , part 1
by James E. Young
Among the hundreds of submissions in the 1995 competition for a German national "memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe," one seemed an especially uncanny embodiment of the impossible questions at the heart of Germany's memorial process. Artist Horst Hoheisel, already well-known for his negative-form monument in Kassel, proposed a simple, if provocative anti-solution to the memorial competition: blow up the Brandenburger Tor, grind its stone into dust, sprinkle the remains over its former site, and then cover the entire memorial area with granite plates. How better to remember a destroyed people than by a destroyed monument?
Rather than commemorating the destruction of a people with the construction of yet another edifice, Hoheisel would mark one destruction with another destruction. Rather than filling in the void left by a murdered people with a positive form, the artist would carve out an empty space in Berlin by which to recall a now absent people. Rather than concretizing and thereby displacing the memory of Europe's murdered Jews, the artist would open a place in the landscape to be filled with the memory of those who come to remember Europe's murdered Jews. A landmark celebrating Prussian might and crowned by a chariot-borne Quadriga, the Roman goddess of peace, would be demolished to make room for the memory of Jewish victims of German might and peacelessness. In fact, perhaps no single emblem better represents the conflicted, self-abnegating motives for memory in Germany today than the vanishing monument.
to read the complete article, hosted by the Lunds Universistet.