A Hero's Many Faces: Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary by Tanja Schult

By Tanja Schult

Raoul Wallenberg is commonly remembered for his humanitarian job on behalf of the Hungarian Jews in Budapest on the finish of worldwide battle II, and often called the Swedish diplomat who disappeared into the Soviet Gulag in 1945. at the present time, Wallenberg’s instance is used to speak humanitarian values and human rights in lots of democratic societies. His tale includes a classical hero narrative which has survived the ‘un-heroic’ twentieth century.

In 2008, there exist thirty-one Wallenberg monuments in twelve international locations on 5 continents, from Hungary to Sweden, from Canada to Chile, from Australia to Russia. the wealthy variety of the monuments invitations to debate the several innovations of Wallenberg and heroism as expressed within the artists’ works. The art-historical concentration of this interdisciplinary research makes it a useful contribution to the dialogue of private monuments, in addition to to the socio-historical examine at the commemoration of Wallenberg and the idea that of the hero.

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Extra resources for A Hero's Many Faces: Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary Monuments (Holocaust and Its Contexts)

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Many artists reacted harshly against using the term monument to describe their own work. They insisted that their particular work was not a monument but a memorial. These artists apparently felt a strong need to differentiate their works from the monuments of former decades, which were stigmatized by political misuse. Such reflections and developments, as only suggested here, of course had a strong influence on the monument genre. This will be further discussed when we investigate the Raoul Wallenberg monuments.

Here the conservative trend persisted in contrast to radical developments in modern sculpture of the twentieth century, at least until the 1960s. For almost two decades many continued to perceive the monument genre as anachronistic, an impossible artistic task. Many understood the genre’s origin as undemocratic, as a demonstration of the powerful,47 or simply as old-fashioned. 48 Hence, it could be said that the monument genre underwent revitalization in a democratic sense. In the 1980s, the genre was revived and renewed on the basis of the previous artistic achievements and socio-political developments.

All over Europe, plastic art was marked by a return to Classicism. The takeover by the Nazis in 1933 and World War II suspended the development of this style. However, Soviet constructivists had made major developments in the monument medium as, for example, the idea behind the structural integration of the base with the ambition of sculpture’s total liberation from the base;35 such attempts were later taken up and developed further. Despite the short blossoming of abstractionism, monumental forms that had been developed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were for a long time still typologically assumed with only gradual or no changes.

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