Museum Anatomy: The German Works
All photographs in this series are of ephemeral body paintings based on artwork stolen by Nazi's during WW2, from the Friedrich Danneill Museum in Salzwedel, Germany. Each painting was rendered in a 5-10 hour painting session. Each photo is an edition of 5 prints.
When a painting goes missing from a museum it is considered a crime. It is also a great loss for historians and humanity because we lose a piece of our timeline. My process as an artist is to reinvent and replace fragments of history using unseen paintings. My Museum Anatomy work is inspired by lost, stolen and damaged works of art from museum collections.
I strive to make beauty. However, my work has been described as visually confusing, shocking, funny and grotesque, sometimes simultaneously. These descriptions are unavoidable because I work with lost stories, distortions and memory fragments.
Artwork I created from South Africa, led me to study about artists sent by Queen Isabella of Spain to report back on the daily lives of people who would eventually become slaves. The artwork rendered, prior to atrocities committed, is considered both historical documentation and fine art.
The inspiring murals of Thailand painted by monks on cave walls are rapidly deteriorating due to climate change. After nine months searching for a museum storage facility in the Czech Republic, I found works secretly stored five catacombs under a convent because fear of another invasion. One work, stolen from a family in Prague during WW2, was rediscovered after I posted my reinterpretation of it on the Internet. These are examples of places where I find inspiration. My work is that of a seeker.
Museum Anatomy: The German Works, was a collaboration with a curator from the Friedrich Danniell Museum in Salzwedel, Germany. We discussed parallels of current American politics paralleling those in the Weimar Republic, and decided to collaborate using images of paintings stolen by Nazi’s during WW2 from his museum as inspiration. The curator pulled out a wooden box filled with cards and set it on the table. Each card represented a stolen painting that has not yet been recovered. I decided to breathe new life into these paintings by re-telling their stories onto humans that feel better represent what we see in our contemporary daily lives. While honoring the lost paintings, I've attempted to create a type of time travel bringing these works into 2018. Strangely, there are many similarities in our current culture to when they were last seen.
I am weaving a tapestry of our history as humans. It includes you and your history too. It’s a survey of things, people and their stories which have been long lost, edited, destroyed, forgotten, found again, embraced, re-interpreted and loved.