Saturday, August 25, 2007

Boris Kobe's Tarot Cards from Allach Concentration Camp

Boris Kobe, Tarot, 1945

From The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota:

Boris Kobe (1905 - 1981) – Slovenian architect and painter was a political prisoner at the concentration camp of Allach, a sub-camp of Dachau. Reproductions of the cards were provided courtesy of the Slovenian delegation to the Stockholm International Conference in the year 2000 to all educators.

Slovenia’s major contribution at the International Conference was an installation of concentration camp tarot cards of Kobe – which in a unique way, created a special monument to historical memory.

The contextual framework and point of departure of the art project is a deck of tarot cards made in the Allach concentration camp in Germany by Kobe, a Slovene architect and painter. As a whole, this work of art represents a visual summary of life in a concentration camp, the main vehicle of which consists of Kobe's tragic and humiliating sequences spiced with acrid humor. At the same time, this tiny exhibit is a miniature chronicle of the twilight of humanity brought about by Nazism, which regarded a human being, and therefore the artist himself, as a mere number.

The installation has the character of an integral work of art or an ambience that, apart from the visual and spatial elements, is enriched by music. The artistic metamorphosis of the traditional danse macabre theme is the focus of the projection, which emphasizes the phenomenon of violence as the greatest evil of 20th century European history.

Allach, a sub-camp of Dachau, was ten miles from the main camp and was liberated on April 22, 1945 by American forces, 42nd Rainbow Division

After the war, Kobe did no more work as far as is known about his camp experiences. He was, however, a major Slovenian architect. One of his major projects was the restoration of the Ljubljana Castle. Plečnik was the major architect but Boris Kobe was also involved in creating elaborate plans for the castle. His contribution to its renovation is not insignificant, though it is not as well known as Plečnik's.

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1 comment:

rick said...

Wonderful artwork made all the more affecting knowing the origin of its inspiration.