• 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
National
King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament
King Carl XVI Gustaf arriving on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament

BREAKING: Sweden's post-election parliament is meeting for the first time following a fanfare opening from King Carl XVI Gustaf. READ  

Opinion
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
A high school in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Should Sweden's school age be raised?

After the new coalition announced plans to extend Sweden's compulsory schooling until the age of 18, The Local asked two Swedes at high school if they agreed with the idea. READ  

International
Sweden slammed for ecological footprint
Sweden should increase its renewable energy according to WWF. Photo:TT

Sweden slammed for ecological footprint

Sweden is among the world's top ten polluters according to one of the largest scientific studies looking at the impact of humans on earth, produced by the WWF. READ  

Society
Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake
Ing-Marie Olofsson whose necklace was found. Photo: Private

Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake

A 66-year-old Swedish woman got the surprise of her life when a fisherman returned the necklace she dropped in a lake at the age of 14. READ  

International
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos

A British newspaper has apologised after a freelance journalist stole a Sweden's Next Top Model contestant's photo and created a fake Twitter account used to trick a UK minister. READ  

Brand stories
Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Aged just 27 and already living off of her own designs, some may consider Johanna Nilsson lucky. But she doesn't believe in luck. She's the founder of a jewellery line blending sustainability, subtle style, and Scandinavian simplicity - and it's taking the world by storm. READ  

Sport
Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash
Photo: AP

Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash

Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes due to a nagging heel problem, the French club have confirmed. READ  

National
Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears
The Infection Clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: TT

Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears

A patient in a Stockholm hospital who was suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus was given the all clear on Tuesday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
A Jas Gripen. Photo: TT

New coalition agrees on defence and migration

UPDATED: The Green Party has committed itself to expanding Sweden's defence force, while the Social Democrats have compromised on work permits for migrants. READ  

National
Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden
The patient is being treated at the Karolinska University Hospital. Photo: TT

Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden

Doctors in Stockholm are checking a patient suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
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

877
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