A devastating piece of human history is embodied in this memorial piece, which I created after visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau for the first time. A single rock that I found on site served as my inspiration and was recreated using my sculptural embroidery technique. Utilizing the expressive quality of embroidery and leaning on its thousand-year-old traditions, I created a visual story that can be perceived in several different scales - from the destruction of nations, religions, and entire communities, to the individual stories of single people.
Stone is considered to be a strong, dense, and stable substance. It is formed through years of physical and organic forces that shape, change, and transform it over time. Yet in this piece, this railway-track stone falls apart into delicate individual threads, making it seem fragile and soft. With this three-dimensional depiction of a natural object, I am able to explore both physical and conceptual contradictions and bring light to extremely difficult ideas and emotions, all while keeping the viewer engaged and intrigued.
The stone here is taken apart in a gradient manner, bringing movement and strong emotions to the piece and emphasizing the sense of time and process it depicts. From the density of the solid dark rock, airy gaps form in the middle, intertwining threads separate in different directions and split into single threads on the edges of the piece. Each thread is thin and almost invisible, yet it creates its own path, reaches out from the border of the frame, and signifies a person’s life story and personal journey. Like in reality, these individual stories cross paths, connect and entangle with one another.
Polyester Silk and Cotton threads.
Mounted floating in a 54X74X5 cm white box frame, with Museum-glass. (21.2X29.1X1.9 inch)
Zooming out, the work can be perceived in both directions, leaving the interpretation to the viewers and their own perspective. From right to left, the stone seems to fall apart into separate pieces, symbolizing the horrors of the Holocaust and the Second World War. In the opposite direction, the singular threads appear to gather and regroup back into a solid whole, depicting the courage of the survivors and the hope of building a better future as individuals, communities, and nations.
The large frame leaves almost endless white space around the contrasting dark-colored stone and provides a sense of loneliness. The shapes and paths created by the single threads, leading to the original rock at the center, can also be viewed as a railway map, signifying the countless railway tracks transporting victims from across Europe to their final destination at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and relating back to the original stone that I used as the foundation for this piece.