Aharon Gluska, Israeli (1951 - )

Aharon Gluska

Gluska was born in Hadera, and was educated at Kibbutz Ramot Menashe. He lives and works in New York.

In recent years, Gluska has been focusing on a series based on photographs of prisoners taken at the Auschwitz death camp. These photographs, today housed in the Yad Vashem Archives, were taken by the Nazis on the prisoners' arrival at the camp. Gluska enlarged the photographs and covered them with hundreds of layers of gel, watercolor, ink and pigment, creating a sense of depth. To enable us to rediscover the faces and identities of the prisoners, Gluska paradoxically covers up the photographs. He creates a dialogue between the visual image of the prisoner, and the historical document. The anonymous faces are given back their names, and the artist thus rescues the individuals from the depths of oblivion. The figure with the piercing eyes lingers in our minds. In this way, the artist reinstates the concept of the individual, which the Nazis sought to obliterate from the face of the earth.
In the words of the artist: "Something about the way they look.....I kept wondering what kind of lives they led before the war, what they did, what they achieved, there are a thousand questions....I want these works to restore their dignity, their humanity, everything the Germans deprived them of."

Another suggestion in some of Gluska's multiple series is that of bystanders peering through a small hole to see just part of the face of the "victim." In such serial works, unlike the tradition of Andy Warhol, each image has varying distortions. Some of the images evoke 19th century Daguerreotypes or silver emulsion images, or may even be considered as faces from sarcophagi from Roman or Byzantine tombs.

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