The Dresden Project – Indelible Marks is an ongoing reflection on the artist’s maternal family. Intended to further understanding and reconciliation, the project explores a rich personal archive, contemporary historical documentation, and the artist’s own experience, through the fertile medium of print. The exhibition was shown earlier this year in Dresden as part of the 70th commemoration of the bombing of the city by the Allies.
Printed using photolithographs over monoprint, complex collaged images of city, culture, and family hover above subtle painterly grounds. Initially they explore the narrative of the artist’s family from World War I in Eastern Prussia to their forced departure from Dresden in 1936, a process richly described by diarist Victor Klemperer. The project then turns to ‘the War in the Air’, the devastating effects of bombing, and its lead character Bomber Harris. It also considers some of the complexities of the heritage of the devastation and the prevalence of Neo Nazi activity in Dresden.
As the artist writes: ‘There is tragedy at the heart of my relationship to Dresden. The city that provided my mother and her parents with stability, prosperity and a remarkable cultural life from the early 1920’s, then repressed and excluded them, forced their departure in mid-1936 and was destroyed by the country that had offered them safe haven and a life free from persecution.
‘This work begins to repair my relationship with my complex heritage, with Dresden and with Germany. Having grown up in the heart of the German Jewish refugee community in North West London, I want this exhibition to recognise and emphasise the significance of individual stories, the importance of reconciliation and to prompt reflection on our attitude towards refugees.’
The exhibition will accompanied by an explanatory leaflet, and an outreach and education programme. A detailed text panel accompanies each image.
Monica Petzal will talk about her work in the gallery on:
Saturday 10th / Sunday 11th / Saturday 17th / Sunday 18th October at 2.30 pm.
The exhibition moves to the Herbert Museum in Coventry from 12th November to 27th February 2016, in conjunction with an installation by the artist for Coventry Cathedral to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Coventry.
Prints are available for purchase. For all details of the project, see www.monicapetzal.com
9-22 October: Open Tuesday-Friday 13:00-17:00; Saturday 11:00-16:00; Sunday 11:00-17:00. Closed Monday