pencil and watercolors on paper

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95cm x 65cm (drawing)
128cm x 91 cm (frame)
pencil, graphite powder and watercolors on paper, passepartout, oak wood, glass, engraved brass plate
2014

This delicate and highly detailed drawing is part of a long-term project, based on old family photos and stories passed down to me by living and deceased relatives. Their personal narrative is set against the backdrop of history. For the sake of general validity, the actual persons are replaced by fictionalized versions of themselves. Symbols, historical figures and names are substituted by my own inventions. The focus is not so much on verifiable historical facts but on uncertainties and ambiguities, such as unproven claims and untold experiences.

The drawing was extrapolated from a photo of my grandmother, taken on a summer holiday in the mid-1930s. A couple of years into the so-called Thousand Year Reich and on the eve of the Second World War, the picture shows a seemingly carefree and idyllic scene, which is enriched by a number of disturbing elements in my artwork. Since the original is in black and white, I stuck to a similarly reduced color palette. The drawing is exhibited in a conservative frame, made from worm-eaten German oak wood, with the title engraved on a brass plate.

Native German speakers may interpret the title as referring to an escapist desire to take refuge from the Wahrheit (truth). The word on the inscription is, however, deliberately misspelled, bringing it closer to war, which is incidentally the past tense of to be in German.