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Spectacles Of Pain: Susan Sontag And Russian World War II Photography

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the work of two prominent artists represented at the Dedication show, Dmitry Baltermants and Yevgeny Khaldei, who produced some of the most celebrated images of World War II. More specifically, it analyzes Baltermants’ photograph entitled Gore (Grief ), a panoramic shot capturing a Nazi atrocity in Crimea, and compares this well-known image to Khaldei’s radically different photographs of a collective suicide of a Nazi family in Vienna, a picture derived from the artist’s family archive, where it remained hidden from view for many decades. The chapter discusses the attitude to images of war sufferings in both the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, and considers whether, in the specific case of Russia, museum exhibits picturing such images fail, or, on the contrary, succeed in providing favourable “referential conditions” for viewing them.

Keywords: Dmitry Baltermants; Nazi family; post-Soviet period; Soviet period; Vienna; World War II; Yevgeny Khaldei



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