Atelier Augarten Zentrum für Zeitgenössische Kunst

Through the centuries, the theme of pathos has become rarer in art. Today it is almost taboo. At the Österreichische Galerie in the baroque Belvedere Palace, one sees how in classical painting and sculpture death and loss leads to transfiguration and victory. But mourning in contemporary art? In “Trauer” (Mourning) their manifold contradictions have been productively addressed by the gallery’s curator of modern and contemporary art, Thomas Trummer, who in his catalogue essay measures the representability of mourning and tragedy by way of such texts as Freud’s “Mourning and Melancholia,” Barthes’s Camera Lucida, and Derrida’s “The Death of Roland Barthes,” developing a phenomenology of loss.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s minimal “Untitled” (For New York), 1992, gives particular insight into the exhibition. It is one of a number of strings of lightbulbs that would be nearly identical but for their

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the October 2003 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.