2009

Separators



Wood, plywood, latex paint, German and Swedish books

8x12x2.5 feet

Artist statement

I have been interested in walls/fences for quite a while and been using them in my work. I am interested in what a fence is. It is a border; it separates; it includes, but more than that it excludes. As I have recently revisited and learned more about my family history, in particular those of my great-grandparents’ lives in Berlin, I realized the significance of incorporating their stories into my work. I felt compelled to make a work based on their forced separation.

My great-grandmother Lisa was an intellectual and politically involved. When Hitler’s propaganda machine’s wheels started turning, a lot of books were banned. Some of those books were on her shelves and as aresult she was arrested. The interrogating officer recognized her since she had hired him years before to help my grandfather Nils as a math tutor. He had been payed well in a time when money was hard to come by in Germany, he also received a lot of help with various things. For some reason, maybe he felt he owed her, and arranged for her to be deported back to Sweden instead of passing her on to an unknown fate dictated by Nazi Germany.

My great-grandfather, Isidor Gesang was a Polish-Jewish actor (stage name John Gottowt) working in Berlin. In 1933 he was no longer allowed to work as an actor because he was Jewish as a result he went to Wieliczka in Poland where he was situated in a ghetto. As time went on all the Jews in the city were murdered, except for a few that managed to hide. Isidor had fake papers as a priest and was in costume in his old apartment when the SS came through the building. He was playing his part as a priest and it seemed he was getting away with it. Suddenly one of the SS officers recognized him, he was a huge fan of Isidors work as an actor. He asked the other officers to leave the room. They chatted for a while, and Isidor was asked to come with him and was promised as much help as the officer could give. As Isidor knew what was waiting he refused and instead laid down on his bed. He was shot dead laying in that bed.

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To Suggest A Difference (Writings On The Wall)


Boxes, paper, paint, pens

7x13x1 feet

Artist statement

As the Berlin wall separated East from West, I chose to create a piece that will divide the gallery. Depending on which side of the wall you are on, the color scheme represents the effect the Berlin wall had on a population. Walls as a global phenomenon produce reactions that are often directly related to it’s creation, and is sometimes expressed in creative ways. In this piece I want to give the viewer the opportunity to add anything they feel relevant to the piece.

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