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INSTALLATION EVOKING EVERYDAY LIFE IN 1930S BERLIN
OPENS AT THE JEWISH MUSEUM JULY 31
New York, NY - Maya Zack: Living Room will be on view at The Jewish Museum from July 31 to October 23, 2011. In this installation, artist and filmmaker Maya Zack takes a Jewish family’s apartment in 1930s Berlin as inspiration for this room-sized work, using 3D technology and sound to explore the past and how it is remembered. With four large-scale, computer-generated 3D prints, Zack shows cross-sections of the living room, dining room, kitchen and other spaces, including furniture, appliances, tableware, wallpaper and light fixtures. 3D glasses enhance these oversized (4’ high x 10’ wide) images and give them immediacy and depth. While much attention has been paid to the major world events of the era, Zack’s piece serves as a reminder that ordinary lives were interrupted by the catastrophic events of the Holocaust.
The installation is based on the remembrances of Manfred Nomburg, a German-born Jew now living in Israel, who fled Berlin in 1938 as a boy. His vivid memories of the Berlin apartment where he lived with his parents and brother before the war recall life in an average home, comfortable but not opulent, with furniture and housewares typical of the time and place. While looking at the images, visitors will hear a sound recording of Nomburg’s stories about his family’s home, adding texture and a sense of time to the installation. Recollections of the familiar objects and Nomburg’s anecdotes bring the rooms and their contents back to life.
Like Zack’s film Mother Economy, shown at The Jewish Museum in 2008, Living Room explores the intersection of personal memory with historical events. Zack is interested not only in the details the interviewee can recall but also in his memory gaps. Memory is by nature fragmented, and so is the scene before the viewer. Books lean against a wall without the underlying support of a shelf and traces of wallpaper reflect fractures of memory. Hurriedness and disarray are expressed by an overturned cup and a copy of the Jüdische Rundschau newspaper lying open on the floor, as if the family had just left the apartment in haste.
The artist was inspired by a trip to the home where her grandmother grew up in Slovakia. Zack recalls her “encounter with the actual house, and the sense of emptiness and absence [she] felt while trying to imagine what had happened in between its walls – reconstructing a reality from a borrowed memory.”
Maya Zack was born in Israel in 1976. She lives and works in Tel Aviv. She has had solo exhibitions at the Alon Segev Gallery in Tel Aviv, the Natalie Seroussi Gallery in Paris, the Bezalel Gallery in Jerusalem and the CUC Gallery in Berlin, among others. Her work has been included in group shows in Berlin, Munich, Milan, New York, and other cities. Zack’s work is in many museum collections including the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Jewish Museum in Berlin and Beit Hatfutsot Museum in Tel Aviv. Her films have been screened at festivals in Los Angeles, Vienna, Paris, Cologne, Budapest, Haifa, Tel Aviv and New York. In 2008, Maya Zack was awarded Germany’s Celeste Art Prize for Mother Economy. Living Room was the winner of the Adi Prize for Jewish Expression in Art and Design in Jerusalem in 2010.
This exhibition is made possible by the Melva Bucksbaum Fund for Contemporary Art.
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Widely admired for its exhibitions and educational programs that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is the preeminent United States institution exploring the intersection of 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture. The Jewish Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, the Museum maintains an important collection of 26,000 objects—paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media.
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PLEASE NOTE: Digital images of this work are available upon request.