Mat Collishaw
Kristallnacht
2002
Photograph, glass, acrylic, steel, light and fitting
24.02 x 31.89 x 4.33 inches
Facing the series Kristallnacht, the viewer's attention is immediately attracted by the sparkle and delightfulness of the black and white pictures. Their impact captivates our senses with their kaleidoscopic effect achieved by a diffuse light originating behind the image and going through a polarized coloured lense. However, after closer consideration, the spectator realises that he is looking at the abjection of the literal Crystal night, usually translated as the "Night of Broken Glass" of November 9, 1938, referring to the anti-Jewish attacks during which the Nazis destroyed the windows of their shops.

Kristallnacht is a series of installations that are presented like pictures. The works use the photos taken during the deconstruction of the buildings and shops of the Jewish district in Berlin. At first glance far from the extreme cruelty of the subject, the images are lightened up from the back by a light source passing through polarizing filters. Therefore Mat Collishaw manipulates the pictures "twofold" and offers a reflection on the perception of their signs as well as shifting the weight of their content.