Dealing with Catastrophe



This capacity came to our mind while bringing together artistic addresses of horrors impacting societies, such as the present refugee crisis.

Catastrophe originally referred to the overturning of a narrative in ancient Greek tragedy, thus being associated with disastrous, violent and tragic conclusions that appear unavoidable as natural disasters or “acts of God.” How can art deal with catastrophe without resulting in a perverse and insensitive disaster-show that aestheticizes individual and collective ruination? One way is to understand and memorialize the catastrophe and the reasons that led to it, as means to ward off its reoccurrence. Another is to transcend the sense of finality, inherent in it, by going on to create out of that, much like a survivor who has to start again with the ruins of a former life as his only source.

François Curlet starts from the haunting horror story of Father András Pandy who murdered his family and dissolved their bodies in acid. The artist turns elements of Pandy’s house into open possibilities, centered on a series of birdhouses. N.S. Harsha deals with the often violent struggle that Indian farmers are facing against an increasing development of contemporary urban society. Costas Varotsos with Katër i Radës makes a small monument to a great tragedy, by using the actual propeller of a ship that was full of Albanian immigrants when sunk on its way to the Italian coast in 1997.

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