Walter Benjamin and Paul Klee in the mirror of Aura Rosenberg
What form does progress take? Does it manifest itself through technical innovation and a raised standard of living? Or is it more of an inconsistent pattern of destruction and renewal? In his IX Thesis on the Philosophy of History, the influential Jewish writer and cultural critic Walter Benjamin (1892 - 1940) put forward a symbolic image, making the leading Bauhaus painter Paul Klee’s figure of the Angelus novus a witness to the disruptive nature of historical progress. »Where we perceive a chain of events, he [the angel] sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage…« Benjamin wrote. The American artist Aura Rosenberg also uses the figure of an angel in her exhibition »Angel of History«, confronting this with a chain of developments. Inspired by the power of Benjamin’s language, the artist uses graphics, video and object installations to translate his motifs into visual form. She condenses both the past and present into images of piles of rubble that show the visitors how our cultural history has continuously been moulded by acts of violence and social tensions. These pictures by Aura Rosenberg prompt associations with the extensive conflicts of the present day.