Malcolm Lubliner is one of sixty artists participating in a major exhibition on the subject of banned books organized by curator Hanna Regev. http://www.sfcb.org/html/2008banned.html
Phase one of the exhibition opened on August 15th, 2008 in San Francisco at The Center for the Book and Phase two, the one in which Mr Lubliner's work will appear, opens on September 5th, 2008 at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland. Mr. Lubliner's book selection is All Quiet on the Western Front, the powerful anti-war novel by Erich Remarque published in 1928 and banned by Hitler in 1933 calling it "anti-German and anti-patriotic".
Mr. Lubliner's piece is a four by six foot image containing interpretive drawing and reproductions of WW1 photographs of dead and dismembered soldiers who suffered the agonies of trench warfare.
This is the artist's statement about the work:
“All Quiet on the Western Front”
The montage composed of photographs of dead and dismembered soldiers is a pivotal part of the image. It is intended to give viewers a taste of conditions on the front lines during World War One. They came from a Brussels based archive, The Great War in a Different Light, which contains hundreds of similar photographs taken by photojournalists who had seemingly few editorial restrictions, although some of these were also banned.
The Gothic German text is an abstracted version of the original title taken from the book’s first edition dust jacket. Translated the title reads, “In The West Nothing New”, which was apparently Erich Remarque’s sardonic commentary on how little concern or sympathy the military leadership had for the men in the trenches where life was consistently and pervasively miserable.
The soldier in the drawing has volunteered for service under great social pressure and against his instincts. He is a missionary for his government’s interests although he will not profit from them. He is both perpetrator and victim, ringmaster and clown. He is neither alive nor dead and no longer has control over the flames of his volition. A ghost of what might have been a rich life; he is now a scrap of currency in an international gamble.
The woman in the drawing, wise and skeptical of military motives is silenced by cultural tradition. Burdened by the absurdity of war and the imperatives of home, her memories, real and invented, mingle with dreams and demons. She reads the news of battles and stares at the street now barren of young men except for those who paid for their loyalty with severed limbs or broken minds, although even that was often no excuse for absence from duty.