Teresa Żarnower (1897, Warsaw, Poland–1949, New York, United States), a Polish Constructivist artist of Jewish descent who was forced to emigrate abroad during World War II, became a dominant figure working for the Polish government in exile. She produced a series of photomontages for a book titled The Defense of Warsaw
, which was published in 1942 by a “Polish Labor Group” in New York. Żarnower used her technical expertise in photomontage to create new configurations of war photographs documenting Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland in 1939. She chose this shocking and politically loaded content to gain credibility and global attention for her work. Drawing on Benjamin Buchloh’s essay From Faktura to Factography
, the aim of this study is to analyze the factographic paradigm in the usage of war photography and in the context of the esthetics of constructivist photomontage. The focus will lie on its mnemonic and archival functions, further highlighting the montage’s function as a key form of social memory model.
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