Shy Abady - Troubled Nostalgia

Born in Israel in 1965, stayed and worked in Berlin in 2007-2008


In the summer of 2007, I arrived in Berlin for an 28-month residency, and
shortly thereafter began creating the series My Other Germany. The
series was inspired by the troubling imprints that WW2 left upon the
city's landscape. These include the ruins left by Germans as a mark of
eternal condemnation, along with the "stumbling blocks" (Stolpersteine)
created by the German artist Gunther Demnig - bright square metal plates
inlaid into sidewalks specifying the year of birth, and the deportation and extermination dates of Holocaust victims who lived in the vicinity.
The series is a journey into the depths of German and German-Jewish
history and myth, seeking something of its roots and an understanding of its unfolding. I took my initial cue from selected 18th and 19th century
Prussian sculptures and monuments, mostly from the Berlin landscape.
Some of these survived intact, while others were damaged or occasionally
almost completely destroyed during WW2. These sculptures paved my way
into the events of the 20th century through the back door of the 19th.
As an Israeli, I was on the ideology of hegemonic Israeli
modernism, a highly ascetic and minimalist tradition replete with
religiously iconoclastic prohibitions. As such I was intrigued and
captivated by neo-classical sculpture but also inherently repelled by the
Germanic codes imbedded in them. To create the series I selected
fifteen OSB plates, which have a chaotic and expressive nature and
are made of compressed wood tubers used in Germany as the local
plywood. The images were etched on the plates with an electric pencil.

Text: Shy Abady

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