This book presents a group of works by Michael Müller that comment on four paintings by Gerhard Richter entitled "Birkenau" and attempt to come to terms with a cruel historical fact in the infamous extermination camp of the same name, Auschwitz II/Birkenau. As direct as Müller’s critical comments on Richter’s paintings may be, they are accompanied by many less conspicuous, quieter, even wounded works which were on view at the Museum im Kulturspeicher Würzburg in the winter of 2022/23. Coinciding with the publication of this book in the spring of 2023, they will be presented at St. Matthew’s Church in Berlin’s Kulturforum.
The thematic focus of both exhibitions is the so-called "Sonderkommando," a group of forced laborers and segregated Jewish prisoners who had to assist the murder of their fellow human beings under the constant threat of death and supervision by the SS from 1942 to 1944/45. The book documents Michael Müller’s artistic confrontation with this demanding historical fact and contextualizes it in a long essay by the art historian Lukas Töpfer.
Deutscher Kunstverlag / De Gruyter, Berlin 2023