War Memory Reinvented

September 18th - November 6th, 2009

Patricia Dreyfus

For this exposition, red dominates. It’s a crimson vermilion red. A symbol of violence, of passion but also of love. Wanting to understand an incomprehensible history but also wanting to become a part of it with compassion and kinship.


I used the documents that I drew from the family attic. Then on each photo I placed my signature:

A small sculpted head. These heads are the metaphor (the symbol) of the soul, of my soul. Without a possible identification, they are a glance, a timeless meeting, a presence in past and future history. They link to the present instant, in which I enroll myself for who I am but also for each one of us through my own experience. It’s research into recognition. These heads intimately call out to us and question our collective history.

About the Exhibit

From memory to history, from history to memory.

One day, by chance, I discover old photos album in the attic of the house of my father’s family. I never knew anything either about his life or about his family’s life during the last world war… I had not been born at that time and I had never been told anything about that time.

I reinvented a memory using the photos taken by my uncle in a camp of aviators, during the War.

Beyond my family’s actions during those times and beyond “History”, in a field where almost everything has sunk into oblivion or has been tarnished, this exhibition allows me to convey my emotions, partially distancing myself from a historic reality that I did not experience. I wanted to do it with my tools: the heads I sculpt, the photo-paintings (based on original photographs) that I create on computers, and a video.

Description of the exhibition “War Memories Reinvented”:

Red is the dominant colour.
It’s a crimson-vermilion red: symbolizing violence, passion, but also affection for others.
It’s an attempt to understand the incomprehensible history and to become part of it through compassion and fraternity.

In the exhibition “War Memories Reinvented”, I interpret war, the combats, the soldiers and the Holocaust. With humility and compassion, I transform the photographs into coloured paintings where a sculpted head (symbol of the soul) is integrated into the picture as witness to our history.

The project is arranged into three complementary visual moods. It consists of some large, computer processed pictures, a composition with small sculpted heads and a video.

On the walls, I display the photo-paintings that I created from some old photographs. Each of these large pictures features a sculpted head as a signature, a junction where the forgotten past meets the living present.

It is an immersion into old photographs and large-size manipulated pictures wherevirtuality and surrealism come together. Here are some samples of suggested photo paintings.