“Where is Abel, thy Brother?”

Zachęta National Gallery of Art

The uncannily timely question “Where is Abel, thy brother” was put to the 19 artists who participated in the eponymous exhibition by the curator, Anda Rottenberg. A reference to the origins of evil, intolerance, guilt, punishment, and the possibility of redemption, this question was addressed if not answered by a series of individual installations by artists as diverse as Miroslaw Balka, Christian Boltanski, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Jochen Gerz, and Miriam Cahn.

This show took place in post-communist Poland, in the rooms of the newly reconstructed Zacheta Gallery, the oldest exhibition hall in Poland. Here, on the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, one might have expected an openly political exhibition faithful to historical facts. Instead, each artist presented a personal take on the past, in works that varied from meditations on the importance of remembering, such as Arnulf Rainer’s

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