Year of Graduation
Representation of the deformed body after The First world war in painting and cinema of German expressionism
School of Cultural Studies
The First World War was one of the greatest human tragedies of the XX century. It was almost the first and the biggest collective trauma. There were not only material damage and injury but also cultural, moral and psychological ones. Everything was deformed: bodies, equipment, machines, lives. It was the bloodiest experience for the people at this moment. People got lost and their feeling was fragmented. It can be illustrated in particular by the experience of the population of the countries who lost the war.It is indicative that expressionism was born in German. The German expressionism as an art tendency plays a compensatory role in the society. There is also a hypothesis that the body became the language, and in my graduate work I will try to reveal and show this logic. The object of this work is the visual art of German authors who directly experienced the WWI. The subject matter is the tendency to shape visually the own traumatic experience because of the impossibility to articulate it by verbal. There is also a hypothesis that the body became the language, then we try to reveal and show this logic. For this purpose we refer to the Walter Benjamin's proposition that the society become speechless after the WWI due to devaluation of the human experience. We try to explain this observation through the concept of the post traumatic affect, that provokes the speechless and the crisis of signification as result. Therefore we use the theoretical conception of J.Kristeva that explains the post traumatic affectation of individuals as the result of the experience of the loss or of the collision with disgusting that provokes the destabilization of the subject's bounds. To come out from the state of affectation it is necessary to articulate this traumatic experience. For this purpose we use the D. La Capra' s conception about the trauma articulation. Therefore we take the cinema and paintings of the authors who directly experienced the war as the result of the process of acting-out, and the classical theoretical frameworks such as "The Haunted Screen: Expressionism in the German Cinema"(1952) by Lotte H. Eisner and Siegfried Krakauer's "From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film"(1947) as the results of the process of working-thought. This paper also is comprised of the attempt to compare and to find the descriptions of the body in German expressionist films and possible approach of its analysis. For this we use the conception of the deformed body from the work of M.Iampolski "Demon and Labyrinth" and try to outline the types of the representation of the deformed body as the result of the crisis of signification.