Two solo exhibitions at Independent New York, which opens to the public on Friday, will spotlight work by artists persecuted and imprisoned in Nazi-era Germany.
Galerie Christophe Gaillard, of Paris, will show, for the first time in the United States, drawings and paintings by the self-taught artist and Holocaust survivor Ceija Stojka, and Delmes & Zander, a gallery from Cologne, Germany, will present photographs by Albrecht Becker, who was arrested by the Nazis and incarcerated for three years for breaching Paragraph 175, a penal code that outlawed homosexuality in Germany until 1994.
Both artists were prolific. Stojka, a Romani woman who, at the age of 55, began painting and writing about her years spent in three concentration camps, created more than a thousand pieces in ink, gouache, and acrylic until her death in 2013. (She once said, “I picked up a pen because I had to open myself, to scream.”) Her works, which are organized between “light pictures” and “dark pictures,” depict her memories of life before the war and, separately, the chaos and terror she witnessed as a child in the midst of genocide.
Becker, who became a celebrated set designer in Germany following World War II, took hundreds of performative self-portraits over the course of 40 years, beginning in the early 1930s. The images, which function as meditations on the artist’s body and sexuality, often incorporate illusionistic elements and techniques like mirrors, photographic duplication, multiple-exposure, and collage. Having frequently utilized the transformative powers of make-up, costume, and decoration in his work, Becker, who died in 2002, is considered in the vanguard of art involving body modification.
These presentations will be on view from March 8 to 10 at Spring Studios in Tribeca.