Art and Moral Dilemmas
Kalliopi Lemos: A Sculptural Trilogy About Europe’s Fragile Borders, Johannes Odenthal, Elina Kountouri, eds., pp. 1-200, Göttingen: Steidl, 2010
11 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2020
Date Written: February 2010
In the last three years the artist Kalliopi Lemos has constructed three large sculptures consisting mainly of boats used by illegal immigrants to cross from Turkey into Greece. These boats were discarded on the island of Chios, where Lemos discovered them. She exhibited these three sculptures in public settings in Athens, Istanbul and Berlin, with the respective titles: Crossing, Round Voyage and Crossroads. What is the meaning of this work? In this essay (which will form part of a forthcoming book on this trilogy, alongside essays by Arthur Danto and Thomas Pogge) Pavlos Eleftheriadis argues that art does not seek to resolve moral dilemmas, such as the dilemma posed by the competing claims of justice made by the illegal immigrants and the neediest of our own society. The power of art is in reminding us (in a way that does not deploy philosophical arguments but is equally or more persuasive) of the profound importance of our moral responsibility towards everyone.
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