Artful Musing

THE ARTFUL BLOGGER: Roadtrip – a Gatineau artist shows Montreal how to photograph evil

By Paul Gessell

Gessell describes Marie-Jeanne Musiol's images by saying "The black circles are like black holes in space that drain the life force from all those who pass."

Gatineau artist Marie-Jeanne Musiol has created an art installation that invokes the ghosts of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland where thousands of Jews were slaughtered during the Second World War.

Visitors walk into Pierre-Francois Ouellette Gallery in downtown Montreal and immediately see three dozen photographs, each of a round, black hole in a rough, deteriorating cement base. The recorded sound of an eerie whistling wind blows through the room.

The life-sized photographs are of holes, 13 inches in diameter, in large, communal latrines in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, as the desolate, uninhabited scene looks today. The photographs are arranged on the wall in a pattern similar to the repetitive latrine holes in the cement.

The black circles are like black holes in space that drain the life force from all those who pass. In reality, these were holes in a latrine designed to humiliate and to degrade all those forced to use them, up to 100 people at a time, sometimes both men and women together. (more…)