Charlotte Salomon was born 1917 in Berlin.
She was transported to Auschwitz on 7 October 1943 and was probably gassed on the same day she arrived there. She was five months pregnant then, only permitted to live 26 years.
She would have stayed anonym as most of the Jews, Sinti and Roma and homosexuals that were murdered by a well-organized Nazi regime and the countless Germans serving them but her extraordinary visual diary remaines as Charlotte Salomon´s trace in time.
I have never encountered a body of work like this: created in the short period of two years, her images breathe the freedom of imperfection without loosing visual quality.
Charlotte Salomon works with paintings overlaid with texts, as it probably wasn´t done this way before. Some of her pieces have the air of modern contemporary artistic comics, others remind me of some of Baselitz paintings. But she always uses a language distinctively hers.
She tells us the story of the time she lived in, and she allows us to sense how she experienced these years of turning from a girl into a young woman. She shares with us her observations of the world of grown ups as if seen through the eyes of a child. We see the life of a bourgeois Jewish family, we see them sitting around in a salon, we see well educated women playing piano and men smoking cigars, we sense family catastrophes and a child’s conflicts with her parents, we see Charlotte studying art, painting flowers and nudes in class, we see the brutal emergence of the Nazis and their immediate influence on Charlottes life, we see her in love and thrown into doubts, as it is when love enters the stage.
Charlotte Salomons tells us about the atmosphere of the times she lived in, she tells us of a life that was destroyed by a force that we tend to hold for inhuman. But it belongs to humanity as the budding love of a young woman.
The world could different as it is, even if we are told we should forget about alternatives because they never will be realized. Charlotte Salomon’s work, as all descriptions of everyday lives and everyday hopes, remind us of that things could and should be different than they are now.
The best website to visit,
to get to know about the life and work of Charlotte Salomon,
and the source of these images
is the “joods historisch museum”.
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