Keeping Ourselves Alive
  • ISSN 1053-6981
  • E-ISSN: 2405-9374
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AbstractCharlotte Salomon's painted life history took shape in an extremely gruesome period: World War II. But Salomon's personal family history is also excep-tional: Almost her whole family committed suicide. This article explores the question of whether it is meaningful, or even legitimate, to refer to a work emerging from such a violent reality as a work of art. The article focuses on the many self-reflective passages in the images and text that deal with the function of art and the ways it is made. It is argued that Salomon did not provide the fate of her family and the horrible war with a deeper meaning in order to liberate herself from their horror. She did not write a realistic account of her reality, nor did she create an alternative world for it. Rather, her life history is a performance in the strictest sense: doing the work of working through her reality. (History; art criticism)A "life-testimony" is not simply a testimony to a private life, but a point of conflation between text and life, a textual testimony which can penetrate us like an actual life. (Shoshana Felman & Dori Laub, 1992, Testimony. Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History, p.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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