Leben? Oder Theater?

The news about the concrete barrier wall that Israel was building around the West Bank provoked contradictory feelings in me. On the one hand, I could understand the fear; I had lived in Jerusalem during a six-year period in which many suicide terror attacks happened. On the other hand, I could imagine that a person living under occupation and repression with no future perspective, could loose his will to live and might consider suicide.
During the same period I suffered from frequent panic attacks that appeared unexpectedly and had no external or objective reason. It made me into a miserable person. I wanted to ‘bury’ myself behind a concrete wall and never leave my house. It was then, that I got to know the work of Charlotte Salomon (1917–1943) Life? Or Theatre? which moved me deeply. Charlotte was investigating the tragic fate of her family that was ‘cursed’ with a plague of suicides, among them her mother, aunt, uncle and grandmother. In the period when Charlotte was a refugee in France, after she fled the Nazis in Berlin, she started to work on Leben? Oder Theater? As she testified in the epilogue of her book, she discovered that making this artwork ‘might possibly preserve her from suicide’.
In this installation I have merged my personal fears and doubts with the political situation in Israel and with Charlotte Salomon’s story and courage.

Mixed-media installation: black and white photocopies glued on MDF, sculpture made of plaster, paraffin wax, cotton bandage and pigment turning on electric ‘showarma’ motors. Sculpture dimentions: 160 cm high décor 240 cm high. Solo exhibition @ De 5ER Art-Space, curators: Marjolein Dijkman & Wouter Osterholt, Rotterdam 2004