Maritime drawing
Pencil, graphite powder and watercolors on paper, worm-eaten German oak wood, passepartout, glass, engraved brass plate
95 cm x 65 cm (drawing)
128 cm x 91 cm (framed piece)

This delicate and highly detailed drawing is part of a long-term project, based on old family photos and stories passed down to me by living and deceased relatives. Their personal narrative is set against the backdrop of history. For the sake of general validity, the actual persons are replaced by fictionalized versions of themselves. Symbols, historical figures and names are substituted by my own inventions. The focus is not so much on verifiable historical facts but on uncertainties and ambiguities, such as unproven claims and untold experiences. The drawing was extrapolated from a photo of my grandmother, taken during a summer holiday in the mid-1930s. A couple of years into the so-called Thousand Year Reich and on the eve of the Second World War, we are presented with a seemingly carefree and idyllic scene, which I chose to embed in and contrast with elements of disturbing imagery. Since the original photo is in black and white, I stuck to a similarly reduced color palette. Adhering to the conventions of historical maritime and landscape painting, the drawing is exhibited in a conservative frame, made from worm-eaten German oak wood. Native German speakers may interpret the title of the work as referring to an escapist desire to flee from the Wahrheit (truth). But the word engraved on the brass plate is deliberately misspelled. Warheit (without the h) sounds more like something that was or perhaps wasn't. The figures in the drawing are having a “Little Escape” from what might have happened to them.