Charlotte Salomon: Life? Or Theatre?
Museu Coleção Berardo presents the exhibition Life? Or Theatre? by Charlotte Salomon who was born in 1917 in Berlin and murdered in Auschwitz in 1943. Between 1940 and 1942, she painted more than 1300 gouaches, of which she selected 769 for Life? Or Theatre?.
Fleeing Nazi persecution, the artist went into exile in Southern France in 1939, liberating herself from all power and foresights: Her work is one of freedom and farewell to Germany and its culture. Devastated by her family tragedy, Charlotte Salomon writes, paints, and plays “Leben? Oder Theater? Ein Singespiel (“Life? Or Theatre?” A Singspiel)” between heaven and earth, in a suspended temporality, as a response to the existential need not to die. Each gouache is a deep plunge into the soul, a form of resistance to death and despair. Comprising experiences, dreams, hopes, and traumas (her aunt’s, mother’s, and grandmother’s suicides), “Life? Or Theatre?” is a complete work of art—audible, visual, and literary at once.