Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation
The project is based on photographs of experiments to which prisoners were submitted to in the Nazi concentration camps. The works, printed on paper in both DIN A0 and DIN A2 format, intertwine between fragments of the Primo Levi book which lends its name to the exhibition.
Remembrance of the past events is a fundamental exercise in the greater understanding of not only the present, but also our own identity. Remembrance is connected to both a collective history, and to our personal biographies. It is about acting against amnesia, and against manipulation. Both can condemn us to reproduce past mistakes.
It is important to articulate forms of expression which catch our attention –confronting and compelling us to face these recurrent themes in new ways. These forms of expressión may be provocative, allowing us to avoid an anesthetized state when faced with the initial severity of these images. Susan Sontag has analysed this so accurately in her book, Regarding the Pain of Others. The use of color here is a device to contrast the historic black and white photographic documentation.
The project also presents a process of elimination –a progressive erasing of every image from its original state. This process highlights not only the deformation that the experiments caused in the tortured bodies of the prisoners, but also the attempts made to blur and erase the past as if these atrocities had never existed. The exhibition takes place within the controversial dilemma of how to confront the horrors of the Nazi regime (and genocides in general). For some people it is impossible to show these horrors without banalising (in the case of Lanzmann and his Shoah). For others, the attempt is necessary as a testimony that has to renew itself constantly so that it can embed itself in the conscience of new generations.