"Our Struggle: responding to Mein Kampf"
"The objective was to express on each page the emotion it evokes. Every page returned to me provoked a profound response. I felt together we could recreate the book and experience a new reading of the pages. It would become Our Struggle" - Linda Ellia
On February 11, the Contemporary Jewish Museum will open an extraordinary exhibition, the first North American showing of Our Struggle: Responding to Mein Kampf, based on a collective artwork and book titled Notre Combat (Our Struggle, in English).
The book and the exhibition is the result of French painter and photographer Linda Ellia’s response to her encounter with a copy of Mein Kampf. Holding this book, Ellia felt as if she were holding Hitler in her hands; the book’s weight embodied the heaviness of the Holocaust. She felt compelled to take action. After personally altering several pages to express her anger, she invited hundreds of people from all around the world to paint, draw, sculpt, and collage directly on the pages of the book to share her experience. On view will be 600 of these altered pages from a multitude of participants from artists, poets, writers, musicians, film makers, journalists, students, and Jews from as many as 17 different countries.
The hundreds of pages in the exhibition offer a remarkable display of different artistic styles and present a multiplicity of voices and perspectives ranging from angry to mournful to hopeful. Creativity emerges from tragedy in this riveting exhibition of the altered pages, reminding us that the hatred, bigotry, intolerance, and discrimination inscribed in Hitler’s book must never be repeated.