Zbigniew Libera

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Zbigniew Libera (born July 7, 1959) is a Polish artist. Born in Pabianice, Poland, he has become well known for the controversial LEGO Concentration Camp Set that he designed in 1996. The LEGO Corporation gave Libera the bricks for free without a clear vision of Libera's project and not knowing he would use them for this purpose. This act, however, led Libera to include a controversial notice on his boxes saying "sponsored by LEGO Systems". LEGO insists that they did not endorse his artwork.

The Jewish Museum in New York City exhibited these sets in 2002 as part of a show entitled Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art. Critics charged that Libera's sets trivialize the Holocaust. Defenders argue, however, that the LEGO sets mirror the evil-minded ingenuity required to construct the concentration camps as instruments of terror. Art historical criticism, like that proposed by Ernst van Alphen, has argued that these toys seek to represent and refigure the Holocaust in a more familiar register that recovers its meaning from overbearing Holocaust education programs. Art historian Norman Kleeblatt proposes a similar reading, understanding the works as a study into the Foucauldian biopower of concentration camps.

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