Carl Michael von Hausswolff says he used ashes of Holocaust victims to create a very macabre painting. The Swedish artist maintains that he stole the ashes during a tour of a concentration camp. The thought that human ashes may have been used in such a manner has caused an international uproar and backlash against the artist. Jewish leaders rightfully consider the painting an act of desecration.
The Swedish artist claims he stole the ashes of Holocaust victims while visiting the Majdanek concentration camp in 1989. Carl Michael von Hausswolff said that he mixed the ashes of those who were killed at the camp during World War II with water and then used the material to paint a series of gray streaks onto the painting, according to the New York Daily News.
A review of the painting which allegedly contains the ashes of victims killed at the hands of Nazis appeared in the Swedish-language newspaper, Sydvenskan. Carl Michael von Hausswolff wrote this on the gallery website:
“It was as if the ash contained energies or memories or souls from people. People tortured, tormented and murdered by other people in one of the 20th Century’s most ruthless wars,” the painter wrote on the website of the gallery where the piece is on display.”
Martin Bryder told the Swedish media that he saw no “moral flaws” in displaying the painting which may contain ashes from Holocaust victims.
Anti-Defamation League in New York City head Abraham Foxman had this to say about the painting:
“It is outrageous that an artist would even consider using the ashes of living human beings in this manner. The use of human remains as art is disrespectful and offensive, period, but what makes this so much worse is that Carl Michael von Hausswolff is also doing it at the expense of Hitler’s victims.”
Carl Michael von Hausswolff has been reported to the police for the alleged desecration of remains, according to the Daily Mail.