• Sweden edition
 
Holocaust ash painter reported to the police

Holocaust ash painter reported to the police

Published: 06 Dec 2012 15:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Dec 2012 16:41 GMT+01:00

A member of the public has now reported him to the police for breaking the Swedish law that protects the peace of the dead (brott mot griftesfriden).

The piece in question is being shown at a gallery in Lund.

In the text alongside the work, artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff explained that he collected the ashes from a concentration camp crematorium in Majdenak, Poland.

Years later, he mixed the stolen ashes with water and used the result as paint on acrylic paper.

The work has sparked a range of reactions from critics, with many upset that von Hausswolff would use remains from Holocaust victims in his art.

"You shouldn't use remains as souvenirs," art critic Tor Billgren told The Local.

Billgren's main objection is related to disturbing the peace of the dead (brott mot griftesfriden), rather than the specific oeuvre's link to the Holocaust.

Author and translator Salomon Schulman, however, reacted with more virulence.

"It is repulsive in the extreme," he told Sveriges Television (SVT).

In a stinging critique published in the local Sydsvenskan newspaper, Schulman also likened the work to a fascination with necrophilia and questioned whether it should be called art.

"Who knows, some of the ashes might come from some of my relatives?" he wrote, adding that he refused to see the work for himself.

Billgren expressed considerable respect for the rest of the exhibition at Lund's Martin Bryder Gallery.

"When von Hausswolff work isn't muddied by naivety he offers exciting and alternative strategies to deal with and remember the horrors of the past," Billgren wrote in his review of the show.

The gallery owner, Martin Bryder, has said it was never his intention to hurt anyone's feelings.

"This wasn't meant to open old wounds, rather it was meant to heal them," Bryder told SVT.

Von Hausswolff is a well-respected artist, once referred to as both "dour and funny" by the New York Times, and has represented Sweden at the Venice Biennale.

"I think Carl Michael von Hausswolff's art is interesting, but in this case he showed bad judgement," Billgren told the Local.

As news broke on Thursday afternoon that the artist had been reported to the police, the TT news agency was unable to reach him for comment.

The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

13:44 December 6, 2012 by RobinHood
The Nazis made lamp shades, book covers, wigs, fertilizer, soap and loads of other stuff. But I don't think they ever got around to "art"; I expect they would have given time.

Seems to be a clear cut case of the wierd Swedish crime of "disturbing the dead" to me.
15:10 December 6, 2012 by Lorie Lasseter-Foltz
It *should be* shocking and it *should be* disturbing. It is a tangible reminder to the human race to NEVER forget and NEVER repeat.
15:56 December 6, 2012 by EP
Typical hypocrisy ... Sweden, feigning neutrality during the war (and profiting from it) got to enjoy probably some nice and cosy summers between 1939-45 and now this moron is trying to make a statement about the horrors of the concentration camps with his so called art? He should just crawl under a rock. Pathetic.
16:15 December 6, 2012 by Bleichroeder
"he collected the ashes from a crematorium in Majdenak"... WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?

You don't just "collect" the ashes. The ashes of murdered Jews is not a souvenir or something he has a right to "collect" = euphemism for steal from a crematoria!!! Doesn't it compute in any way that these were people? They were murdered!!! They did not want to end up as a wall painting by some pretentious shock value obsessed Swede.

these are the only remains of women, men, children, babies and the elderly that were murdered. That is all that is left of European Jews. The ashes should have stayed there as a reminder to next generations - not mixed with acrylic.

Here is another idea, collect the remaining teeth of murdered Jewish toddlers and string them together in the name of art!

Revolting.
16:17 December 6, 2012 by millionmileman
The appropriate justice would be for Andres Serrano to stick this jerk in a giant jar of urine!
16:17 December 6, 2012 by Bleichroeder
"he collected the ashes from a crematorium in Majdenak"... WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?

You don't just "collect" the ashes. The ashes of murdered Jews is not a souvenir or something he has a right to "collect" = euphemism for steal from a crematoria!!! Doesn't it compute in any way that these were people? They were murdered!!! They did not want to end up as a wall painting by some pretentious shock value obsessed Swede.

these are the only remains of women, men, children, babies and the elderly that were murdered. That is all that is left of European Jews. The ashes should have stayed there as a reminder to next generations - not mixed with acrylic.

Here is another idea, collect the remaining teeth of murdered Jewish toddlers and string them together in the name of art!

Revolting.
17:02 December 6, 2012 by Jules
Unfortunately this is symptomatic of much of whats wrong with art in our time, style over substance again. Rather than practicing for years in his studio to try and paint or sculpt more magnificently than any of his predecessors, he instead works out the most shocking way of drawing attention to his "work" hoping the media will bite and thus he will be on to a rather large pay day. Unfortunately it seems to have worked. What a disgusting individual, one wonders what he might make of his relatives being disinterred and their remains being shown off to the public without dignity or respect purely for someone else´s profit? But he is obviously so crass he probably would not care... I hope very much the Police find something to charge him with and that as a result the judiciary are able to either make sure he does not profit from his actions, or better yet he spends a lengthy time behind bars to think on his actions a little.
18:03 December 6, 2012 by Svensksmith
Typical of today's shock jock mentality.
20:04 December 6, 2012 by Keith #5083
It is to be regretted that the language of his art could not find a more respectful way of expressing itself.

Apart from the Swedish law,I sincerely hope that the Polish government charges him with theft,for that is what has occurred. He has stolen from a museum. In England O belive the crim e of 'body snatching/graverobber' still exists.

If one of the functions of art is to comment upon society, he has made a really valid point.Not in his art,but in his actions. For certainly society today appears to demonstrate less respect.
18:05 December 8, 2012 by rufus.t.firefly
If this concerned the ashes of some other group, there would be no controversy about whether or what action to take. This grisly so-called painting would not be on display in a "respectable" gallery.

It, sadly, is not surprising that it is on display in Sweden, and that it remains here despite the acts of grotesque criminality by the artist and the original murderers, as well as the insult and injury to Jews and Survivors in particular, but also to those in general with a shred of decency in them.

The sooner all appropriate charges are brought here and in Poland and the painting is dealt with in some fashion that gives priority to the feelings of the Jewish community of the world, the better. Please let it be soon.
05:24 December 9, 2012 by Ronald Friend
I find this not only macabre but in the worst of taste, and seemingly exploitative. Does the artist not realize that there are living relatives of those who died at Majdanek, not that this alone makes it despicable. My father, an engineer, was transported to Majdanek from Drancy, France on March 4, 1943, Convoy 50. Does not exactly make me feel too good that his ashes could be hanging on a wall in a gallery in Sweden!

Ron F.

Portland , Oregon
Today's headlines
Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Israeli ambassador Isaac Bachman. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

UPDATED: Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador from Stockholm, after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

National
Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe
The ship was rescued on Thursday. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe

After fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil could sink in Stockholm's archipelago, Sweden's Coast Guard said the vessel had been towed to safety. READ  

National
Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal
A scene from a video of the attack published by Dagens Nyheter

Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal

A policewoman accused of letting her dog attack a drunk man while she repeatedly hit him with a baton, has had her conviction overturned by a court in Stockholm. READ  

Entertainment
What's On: October 31st - November 7th
Uma Thurman will soon be on her way to Stockholm. Photo: TT

What's On: October 31st - November 7th

Halloween fun and an international film festival are the big events hitting Stockholm this week. We cast our eye over the capital and the rest of the country for the best activities to check out this week. READ  

International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

989
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN