By Tanja Schult
Raoul Wallenberg is broadly remembered for his humanitarian task on behalf of the Hungarian Jews in Budapest on the finish of worldwide battle II, and referred to as 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 features a classical hero narrative which has survived the ‘un-heroic’ twentieth century.
In 2008, there exist thirty-one Wallenberg monuments in twelve nations 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 various strategies of Wallenberg and heroism as expressed within the artists’ works. The art-historical concentration of this interdisciplinary research makes it a worthwhile contribution to the dialogue of private monuments, in addition to to the socio-historical study at the commemoration of Wallenberg and the concept that of the hero.
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Additional info for A Hero's Many Faces: Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary Monuments (Holocaust and Its Contexts)
The most recent dissertation on Wallenberg dates from 2004, Hjälten och Offren: Raoul Wallenberg och judarna i Budapest (“The Hero and the victims: Raoul Wallenberg and the Jews in Budapest”) by historian Attila Lajos. Lajos places Wallenberg’s rescue mission in a wider historical context. The merit of Lajos’s thesis is that he located relevant files in Hungarian archives, thereby making these sources accessible for further research. 3 He does not satisfactorily expound on the problem of the hero-term he uses in his dissertation and seems to be unaware that his own perception of Wallenberg is based on a Christian martyr-hero image.
After the experiences of art’s misuse during the reign of various dictatorships, there was a general skepticism toward any ideological use of art in the West. Individual freedom was now regarded as most worthy of protection. 43 The second blossoming of non-representational monuments was at first limited to the years after 1945. One of the many pathfinders for the development of the monument genre in the 1980s was the general growing interest in public art during the 1950s. In the 1960s, the monument medium was, however, generally still a mistrusted art form.
All symbolic representations were omitted in this building in favor of entirely abstract structures. Even though Tatlin’s building was never realized, it became a starting point for innumerable abstract monuments. Italian futurists, Soviet constructivists, and German expressionists developed a radical abstract language of forms in the years prior to and especially after World War I. The then-current political movements, with their renunciation of the individual and their unbroken belief in progress, 12 A Hero’s Many Faces contributed to artistic developments that entailed a departure from figurative toward abstract representation.
A Hero's Many Faces: Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary Monuments (Holocaust and Its Contexts) by Tanja Schult