How can art help us come to terms with traumatic memory?
An important function of much artwork dealing with history is commemoration and memorialization. When the history addressed is traumatic, art can play a special role in helping people come to terms with the past and move forward. It can at the same time be a powerful reminder to people in the present not to repeat the mistakes of bygone eras. Both Eisenman’s Berlin memorial and Attie’s Writing on the Wall are dedicated to the painful history of the Holocaust. However, each artist calls upon his audience to reflect on that history in a unique way.