Prussian Blue

August 27 December 15, 2024

“How does one describe the indescribable?” pondered Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel; “And then, how can one be sure that the words, once uttered, will not betray, distort the message they bear?” Prussian Blue presents Mexican artist Yishai Jusidman’s haunting reflection on this ethical paradox. Through the medium of painting, Jusidman explores whether visual imagery can adequately represent the horror of the Holocaust. Can it ever encompass the magnitude of Nazi atrocity? Or are the sheer scale and brutality of such barbarism so far beyond our capacity to comprehend, let alone represent, them that any such effort inexorably rings hollow? How might the impossibility of representation be embedded in the representation itself?

Prussian blue, itself a pigment intimately associated with Nazi industrial technologies of mass annihilation, becomes the very medium through which Jusidman materializes this representational and moral dilemma. Using it to paint the now-empty, silent architectures of the extermination camps, the artist denies us any position of comfort or moral certainty, any consoling illusion that we have somehow moved beyond such barbarism. Prussian Blue offers no panacea. On the contrary, the exhibition plunges us deep into the heart of this moral predicament.

Displayed across three venuesUConn’s William Benton Museum of Art, Contemporary ArtGalleries, and the Gladstein Family Human Rights InstitutePrussian Blue inaugurates the “Nuremberg-ICTY Archives Initiative,” which invites artists to create contemporary responses to these important archives at UConn’s Dodd Center for Human Rights.

An open door in blue tones.

Yishai Jusidman, Auschwitz (2011) Acrylic on wood. Photo courtesy of the artist.

A stone interior of a shower room in blue tones.

Yishai Jusidman, Dachau (2010-12) Acrylic on wood. Photo courtesy of the artist.