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Hiroshima Remarksはゲルニカになれるか?


5月のNew York Review of Booksでゲルニカが取り上げられていました。Art Issueのためかピカソのゲルニカの話がメインで書評すべきGernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre については冒頭でさらっと触れられているだけです(苦笑)

A Different Guernica
John Richardson
MAY 12, 2016 ISSUE

Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre
by Xabier Irujo
University of Nevada Press, 311 pp., $44.95

In Gernika, 1937: The Market Day Massacre, the historian Xabier Irujo reveals the hitherto unknown fact that the destruction of the historic Basque town of Guernica was planned by Nazi minister Hermann Göring as a gift for Hitler’s birthday, April 20. Guernica, the parliamentary seat of Biscay province, had not as yet been dragged into the Spanish civil war and was without defenses. Logistical problems delayed Göring’s master plan. As a result, Hitler’s birthday treat had to be postponed until April 26.
Besides celebrating the Führer’s birthday, the attack on Guernica served as a tactical military and aeronautical experiment to test the Luftwaffe’s ability to annihilate an entire city and crush the morale of its people. The Condor Legion’s chief of staff, Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, painstakingly devised the operation to maximize human casualties, and above all deaths. A brief initial bombing at 4:30 PM drove much of the population into air-raid shelters. When Guernica’s citizens emerged from these shelters to rescue the wounded, a second, longer wave of bombing began, trapping them in the town center from which there was no escape. Low-flying planes strafed the streets with machine-gun fire. Those who had managed to survive were incinerated by the flames or asphyxiated by the lack of oxygen. Three hours of coordinated air strikes leveled the city and killed over 1,500 civilians. In his war diary, Richthofen described the operation as “absolutely fabulous!…a complete technical success.” The Führer was so thrilled that, two years later, he ordered Richthofen to employ the same bombing techniques, on an infinitely greater scale, to lay waste to Warsaw, thereby setting off World War II.


Despite Picasso’s fame, the French press virtually ignored Guernica. Even the Communist newspaper L’Humanité’s star contributor Louis Aragon failed to mention it. Only the art publisher Christian Zervos celebrated the painting in an impeccably illustrated double issue of his avant-garde magazine Cahiers d’Art. It reproduced many of the preliminary sketches and Dora’s photographs with commentaries by Michel Leiris and the Spanish poet and playwright José Bergamín, as well as a poem by Paul Éluard, “La victoire de Guernica.”
When Guernica went on display at the Exposition Internationale, the organizers at the Spanish pavilion questioned its merits. Some disapproved of its modernist style and clamored for its removal. As a result, Max Aub, cultural attaché to the Spanish embassy in Paris and a fervent backer of Picasso, felt compelled to defend Guernica:

This art may be accused of being too abstract or difficult for a pavilion like ours that wishes to be above all and before everything else a popular expression. But I am certain that with a little will, everyone will perceive the rage, the desperation, and the terrible protest that this canvas signifies.

Other Spanish officials did indeed feel that Guernica was too avant-garde for visitors to appreciate, and tried to replace it with another work commissioned for the pavilion: Horacio Ferrer de Morgado’s corny Madrid 1937 (Black Aeroplanes). This composition exploited some of the same motifs used by Picasso—air-raid victims and gutted buildings—but Morgado’s kitschy representationalism was more to the taste of the public than Picasso’s bleak monochrome modernism. The raised fists and red-scarved figures depicted by Morgado also had far more appeal to Spanish Communists. Prominently displayed, Black Aeroplanes was described to Republican leaders as “the greatest popular success” of the pavilion. Whereas Guernica, according to Le Corbusier, “saw only the backs of visitors, for they were repelled by it.”

Some Spanish modernists took against Guernica. The movie director Luis Buñuel later confessed:

I can’t stand Guernica, which I nevertheless helped to hang. Everything about it makes me uncomfortable—the grandiloquent technique as well as the way it politicizes art. Both Alberti and Bergamin share my aversion. Indeed all three of us would be delighted to blow up the painting.

Even more galling was the Basque government’s reaction. Picasso had generously offered Guernica to the Basque people but, to his fury, their president disdainfully refused. Picasso felt the Basques should be grateful to him for memorializing their ancient capital. Instead, the Basque artist Ucelay, who loathed the painting, believed the commission should have gone to a fellow Basque, and denounced Guernica:

As a work of art it’s one of the poorest things ever produced in the world. It has no sense of composition, or for that matter anything…. It’s just seven by three meters of pornography, shitting on Gernika, on Euskadi [Basque country], on everything.