Günter Brus: a walk through totality

Název: Günter Brus: a walk through totality
Zdrojový dokument: Theatralia. 2022, roč. 25, č. 2, s. 15-40
  • ISSN
    1803-845X (print)
    2336-4548 (online)
Type: Článek

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This study focuses on examining a specific artwork of a member of the Austrian action group of Viennese Actionism, Günter Brus through the prism of Trauma Studies. The research question of how the trauma of World War II expressed itself in the art of Günter Brus encompasses a focus on three sub-areas based on the nature and definition of trauma and following neurosis/psychosis: individual trauma (e.g., childhood trauma), societal trauma (a consequence of WWII), and the return of trauma if it has not been consistently processed. The experience of WWII left traumas in the generation of artists such as Brus (e.g., his experience of bombing at an early age) that were individual, society-wide (the complicity of the whole Austrian society in the Nazi crimes and the Shoa), and/or the traumas caused by some recurring trauma. According to a British theatrologist Patrick Duggan, trauma on the individual level is doubled upon recurrence, which is similar to the conclusion at which German researcher Gerald Schröder arrives when he writes about the Wiederholungstrauma of a society on the whole. When the level of social traumatisation reaches a borderline level, it manifests itself through various valves, including artistic ones. Günter Brus became such a materialisation of the repetition of trauma, a living reminder, literally walking through the streets of Vienna during his event Vienna Walk. The study introduces and describes the nature of such trauma in the artwork of the Austrian post-war artist through the framework of Duggan's methodology coupled with trauma-related symptomatology.
The English translation of this essay was proofread within the project 'Development of Research and Popularisation Resources' of the Institute of Czech Literature of the CAS, CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/18_054/00147 01, co-funded by the EU's European Structural and Investment Funds within the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education. Proofreading done by Evan Lewis.
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