Deborah Sfez (Israel) – A JOURNEY TO THE LAND OF MEMORY, 2017, 05:30
This year (2017) I found in Dresden (Germany) a small Album with very small pictures of a German family during the years of World War II 1930-1948.
There are no evidences of any war in the pictures, no soldiers, no signs of destruction, only peaceful photos of a traditional German family of those years, except one picture of 1948 showing a couple on their wedding day sitting on a bench while behind them we notice two buildings: on the right a building in good shape and on the left a completely destroyed one and this is the location they have chosen for their wedding photo to show to their children.
I have decided to give these little photos a new life and shoot them again with a digital camera, enlarge theme and cover all the faces with red embroidery, first technically to cover their identity, make them unrecognizable and anonymous, by erasing their identity they become like marionettes all alike and we can concentrate on their body attitude and the way they are dressed up, their posture and the fashionable looks of their time. These members of one family become like corps with no faces like Mummies of an encient time. In ancient Egypt they belived that when a person died it was the beginning of a long journey for her, therefore they believed the body should be perserved wrapped up in many layers of linen cloth coated in a resin to keep the moist away and prevent the body from decomposing after death.
I certainly think that photography is a living evidence of its dead subjects. Therefore by “injecting” red thread into the photography paper I add a material that, like for the Mummies, perserve the photography as a living material piece of artistic document that starts a journey in the eye of the viewer that goes beyond the photography and deals with the essence of the media itself.
Now we have a series of unknown existences in a known historical period. It makes me think about many questions like: what is a Family Album? What is photography? what is the role of photography as a historical document? can we trust it? What do people choose to show in their albums and what do they choose to omit? These are hard, disturbing questions dealing with truth, honesty, education to the next generation, memory and history narrating.
A found little family album in a Dresden shop with small black and white photos taken during the world war two years 1930-1948..
I photographed them again digitally and covered all the faces with red embroidery to make them anonymous and look like mummies.
is an Israeli artist born in 1964, mainly working in Israel, focusing on the fields of Photography and Video in all their creative configurations.
She studied French and English Literature in Haifa University, Fashion Design in ESMOD Paris, and Scenery and Costume Design at Rakefet Levi school of Theatre Design in Tel Aviv.
She has been practicing the profession of Fashion Design and Theatre Costume Design for over twenty years before she decided to concentrate exclusively on Art.
Deborah has been exhibiting photography and video works in Israel, France, Germany, Belgium and the U.S.A in the last five years, gained acknowledgment and wan several photography and art prizes.
Her work mainly focuses on the ups and downs of the human existence, she talks about the experience of existence, partnership, overcoming a sickness, fear of life, beauty of being a woman and the impossibility of being perfect. Photography, for her, means a creative research . She has started her photography research with a series of hundreds of self portraits in many different characters using heavy make up costumes and wigs to transform her looks. She started, later on, using these various self portraits in a more complex way as a part of larger photography or video Installations including text and sound written and composed by her.