I just saw 3 short movies, and had 3 small thoughts which seem to me could develop to nice discussion.
The first is about Picasso's Guernica.
Guernica is a basque city which was heavily bombarded from the air during the spanish civil war in 1937, the result of which was portrayed in this painting:
While looking at the Guernica I was reminded of, for example, Poussin's l'enlevement des sabines (Rape of the Sabine women):
(detail of middle left in this post
Or, his Plague of Ashdod
My question is this: in what way are sufferings portrayed today?
If at the time of Poussin art looked backwards, towards history to portray current events, as obviously you couldn't say anything against the rulers (Not that I'm saying this is what he did in these paintings. but hm. I wonder if this is what is meant by this post
), still during Picasso's time there was a place for a painting of the suffering. I can't see that happening at the moment in any major way, that is in any way which would take a social significance. (I'm actually thinking of a very pretty sculpture, a kind of wall of screaming bodies, which is obviously rarely seen) I guess there are the memorials, but their place is very different with regards society. They are for remembrance, not for action. (ok, this is complicated but I'll let it go). Today's way would seem to me simply the news. Or, something which will essentially be reality.
In what way then does art play a role in political action, or even in simple portrayal of suffering?
Ok, I know that there are pieces like that made today, especially in the cinema, and that art in general might have less of a social place, but I think there is a deeper reason why these have such a small political role of showing suffering - there are no victims today. If Israel is bombing Palestinians or Palestinians blowing themselves up in a crowd, if Al Qaeda sends planes into buildings, or Americans sending a missile into a building where Osama supposedly visits - who is the victim and who is the villain really depends on where you are coming from.
Anyway, a small thought which became a bit mingled here: simply look at the Poussin and the Picasso. I guess comparing them is my real question.