Painting "Traumatized, Dramatized" by Hunter Madsen

"Traumatized, Dramatized"

  
  
What did the interiors of prison barracks look like, and what did prisoners trapped there find themselves staring at, from their bunks, back when the camp was operating, first under the vicious Nazi's and then under the brutal Soviets?  
  
The German authorities, who maintain the Sachsenhausen museum grounds in a state of arrested decay, have had to make certain choices regarding which building remnants to clear away from the now mostly vacant camp interior, and which few buildings to preserve; and having made their building selections, have also had to decide which aspects of the barracks' peeling interiors to keep on display to horrified visitors, such as I was.  These are, in part, aesthetic decisions or, at least, calculations of likely psychological, visceral, and ultimately aesthetic impact.
  
In one barracks I found a peeling wall location that transfixed my attention as some sort of metaphor for the spiritual despair that may have transpired, so long ago now, within this structure. Exercising my debatable prerogative as an artist, I decided to reverse the black-and-white values on the wall, because the result distressed me, and has been calculated to distress you, even more. Was this artful transformation valid, or not?



 
TITLE - "Traumatized, Dramatized"
WHERE - Inverted image of white-washed paint peeling on the wall of an inmate barracks, Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Oranienburg, Germany (2015)