Dis/placed Modernism: Ellen Auerbach and Marianne Breslauer’s Palestine
Parole chiave:Ellen Auerbach, Marianne Breslauer, Weimar Photography, Exile, Palestine
This paper addresses geographical displacement, elsewhereness, as a fundamental experience in early twentieth-century culture. It examines its aesthetic and epistemological consequences within the specific context of German-Jewish women's photography in pre-state Israel during the 1930s. The article focuses on photographs taken during the Palestine sojourns of two prominent photographers from the Weimar Republic: Marianne Breslauer and Ellen Auerbach. The two moved not only through geographical places, but also across intersecting imaginaries, ethno-religious and gender identities, on the margins of discourses and political systems: as women, as Jews, and as photographers. The article explores these balances at a delicate historical juncture: when a distant spiritual homeland slowly becomes a complex territory for a very complicated immigration, and travel photography turns into exile photography. The resulting photographs exist within a dynamic interplay between ancient collective memories of the “Land of the Bible”, and the modernist iconographies associated with Zionist nation-building; the enchanted gaze towards the Arab East; and a German training altered by displacement. Lastly, from a theoretical perspective, the study considers how the displacement of the two photographers partially decentered their modernist background, expanding the dimensions of the modernist canon to include nomadism, memory, and longing.
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