Monday, 11 August 2008

David Levinthal - "the ambiguity between reality and artifice"

I recently was suprised to find the above miniatures in a Sydney hobby shop. They remind me of the work of photographer David Levinthal who has produced some amazingly provocative images, perhaps most famously those collected in the book 'Hitler Moves East: A Graphic Chronicle, 1941-1943', Levinthal and Gary Trudeau, and his 1994 exhibition titled 'Mein Kampf'. See the following link for more:


Derridata said...

These are very eerie photographs, and yes, as soon as the page with your posting was loading on my PC at work, I was immediately thinking of David Levinthal’s Auschwitz and Nazi series of photographs. And what a disquieting experience it must have been to have a hobby shop display conjure up such imagery. Brian D. Crawford ("Limits and Strategies
in Contemporary Holocaust Photography"
) and Lisa Herman ("The Trickster at Auschwitz") offer some intriguing observations on the striking visual aspects of Levinthal’s Nazi-themed works. I have to say that reading the details about Levinthal’s photo series Hitler Moves East and Mein Kampf from the link you provided triggered memories of my previous library job. I remember ordering a copy of the Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art catalogue, but I didn’t get a chance to read it as it arrived at the library about the same time management was implementing the relocation of art and visual culture monographs from the collection to another campus library. Among the books that were relocated was a 2nd edition of Joel-Peter Witkin’s The Bone House . I mention it because Twin Palms Publishers, the publisher of Witkin’s book, also published Levinthal’s Mein Kampf photo series.

A Huthnance said...

most appreciate your comments. Thanks for attaching the two papers - they were fascinating. I agree with the argument that Levinthal's work is quite legitimate in defamiliarizing the Holocaust as a means of reinterrogating it. Although many contemporary Holocaust photos are, ofcourse, appalling to view, the number of times they have been reproduced does almost lead to them somehow losing their impact ( beyond simple shock value, ofcourse ). By the way, when I asked the guy in the shop if he would mind if I took some photos, he said "Sure, as long as they're not posted on the net"!!