Our Future was Yesterday 2021
As Winston Smith, the protagonist of Orwells novel 1984, had to rewrite old newspaper articles of The Times, in this project, original wood, steel an copper engravings from the 17th to the early 20th centuries have been modified.
They represented the splendor of the German monarchy, the cozy romanticism of the landed gentry or a pastor who raises his forefinger in warning. Other artworks recalled the sermon of St. John for spiritual and religious edification, the fishing life of the 18th century, the accident of a sailing boat or men shipping hay.
Every single one of these topics has become "obsolete" for our present, and so I paint over and overdraw the engravings with contemporary ciphers, symbols and elements, thus demonstratively exercising the power of interpretation and at the same time questioning their legitimacy: In contrast to Winston Smith's invisible alterations of the past, my interventions remain visible as such, even if a “reconstruction” of the original state is not possible.
The Fair, 2021,
54.2 x 66 cm, Ink and gouache on:
Steel engraving by Paul Dröhmer "Zur Kirmes", engraved after Carl Böker, 1870.
In its original state, the steel engraving showed a priest who, with a warning finger raised, admonished the youth to behave virtuously despite the temptations of the fair. But now the pastor has disappeared. He has been replaced by an Anonymous who faces well-dressed citizens with a provocative gesture.
Sandra del Pilar, Monuments,
2021, 18,7 x 26,3, ink an gouache on:
print after engraving,
„Festsaal im Kaiserpalast zu Straßburg“, um 1880
Dr. Lotte Laub, 2021:
In her interventions, Sandra del Pilar turns to old etchings and woodcuts (dating from the 18th to the 20th century) that awaken present-day impressions in the viewer. By drawing contemporary elements into historical depictions, the artist brings unfamiliar aspects into the interpretation and affords the portrayals a future that was not foreseeable when the original works were produced. She has, for example, drawn the head of a statue of Lenin into the middle of an old etching of a ballroom in the former Imperial Palace of Strasbourg. This palace (today the Palace of the Rhine) was built for Kaiser Wilhelm I to celebrate the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine into the German Empire, a territory that was lost back to France after World War I. The Lenin monument erected in East Berlin in 1968, to celebrate the 51st anniversary of the October Revolution and as a symbol of German-Soviet friendship, was demolished following the collapse of the GDR in 1991, although the head was buried near Berlin-Köpenick, unearthed for exhibition purposes in 2015, and taken to Berlin-Spandau. By drawing the head of this Lenin statue, including the transport cables, into the ballroom, the artist is illustrating the comparability of changing historical evaluations: territories acquired and lost (Alsace-Lorraine for the German Empire, the GDR for the Soviet Union), the glorification and rejection of rulers (the German Kaisers Wilhelm I and II, and Lenin, the founder and head of government of the Soviet Union). In doing so, del Pilar is generating awareness of the constructed quality of historiography and of the conditioning of viewing habits.
Prayer to Malverde, 2021,
39.6 x 29.6 cm, Indian ink on:
Wood print "Give us today our daily bread" by Max Pechstein,
Edition Griffelkunst (?), unsigned, around 1920
The fish on the plate in the center of Max Pechstein's wood print became a machine gun
and the words “give us today our daily bread” are now addressed to Malverde, the
Mexican patron saint of drug cartels.
How Dare You (untimely portrait of Greta Thunberg), 2021,
13.3 x 11 cm, charcoal on:
Charcoal drawing on paper, signed: A. Menzel, 1894,
The original art work, signed “A. Menzel” was defined as a forgery by both the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin and Kiel, drawn after a Menzel´s study for a portrait of Justice Minister von Maercker´s wife in 1849. The sheet became an original again with the new signature and the minor changes done to the nose, the cheek, the mouth, the hairstyle and the clothes of the woman, who now turned into an “untimely” portrait of Greta Thunberg. Since the changes were made with charcoal and pastel, they can only be traced back through the new signature and the knowledge we have about the circumstances.
45.5 x 60.5 cm
Indian ink and gouache on:
Engraving by Jean Moyreau (1690-1762) after
"Predicacion de St Jean Baptiste" by Philips Wouverman, 1738 (avec privilège du Roi)
The well-preserved copper-engraving after Philips Wouwerman, which represented the sermon of John the Baptist, has slipped – with the changes in his clothes and the helicopter transporting a monumental sculpture in the sky – into a “space in between” in which the past and fiction merge. The sculpture hanging on the helicopter quotes a scene from the film Good Bye Lenin, which in turn is a quote from Fellini's La Dolce Vita, but at the same time refers to the actual removal of the Lenin monument in Berlin in 1991. However, this did not take place via the air, but via the road. In addition, another statue of Lenin had been chosen to be transported away in the film, which outstretched right arm was intended to make Lenin easier to recognize.
El Narco, 2021,
47.8 x 63.4 cm, Indian ink and gouache on:
Engraving by Jean Moyreau (1690-1762) after
"Le Port au Foin" by Philips Wouverman, 1748 (avec privilège du Roi)
Jean Moyreau made this copper engraving of the apparently lost or destroyed original painting by Philips Wouverman. It showed the loading of hay. Through the wall in the background, the US flag on the right and the "packaging" of the hay in small plastic-welded parcels, the contemplative rural work becomes a criminal-conspiratorial act, the legitimacy of which is just as questionable as the legitimacy of overpainting and reinterpreting of someone else's work of art.
Panic room, 2021,
17.3 x 23 cm, Indian ink and guache on:
Etching "Schloss Tiefurt", unsigned, 19th century
Border line, 2021,
25.9 x 19 cm, Indian ink and gouache on:
Print after "Nordseebad Borkum, lighthouse with school road" by Welin (?)
12 x 18.2 Indian ink and gouache on:
Print after Landell's “Loss of the Yacht Vectis”
45 x 34.5 cm, gouache and Indian ink on:
Engraving by Jean Baptiste Michel (1758-1804),
after “Le Chien interessé” by Carl du Jardin, 1760-1770
My mother, 2021,
24 x 16.3 cm, Indian ink on:
Woodcut, “Mother with child”, 1900
24 x 31.5 cm, Indian ink and gouache on:
Woodcut "Departure for the Hunt" by Walter Klemm-Weimar, 1920s
Minor changes made Walter Klemm-Weimar's landscape become the Mexican state of Guerrero, where 7 years ago 43 students were kidnapped by the military and handed over to a drug cartel to be murdered. One of the theories was that it was about the extraction of oil through fracking.
32.6 x 45.6 cm, ink and pastel on:
Copper engraving by Elisabeth Cousinet Lempereur (*1726) after
“Le Calme” by Joseph Vernet, 1738 (avec Privilège du Roi)
As part of the “Our Future Was Yesterday” project, the tower in the background became two twin towers, into which an airplane is about to fly, while the figures in the front have no inkling of the impending catastrophe that will change the world.
39 x 26.4 cm, Indian ink on:
Wood print "Love" by H.D., 1929
The classic mother-child motif of this wood print from 1920, signed with H.D., has become a bearded skeleton that calls José Guadalupe Posada on the scene. This Mexican graphic artist, ridiculed by his academically trained colleagues, achieved not only posthumous fame with his skeletons in everyday situations. These are now considered to be important contributions to the formation of Mexican identity after the revolution of 1920. With a bearded – male – skeleton slipping into a classically female role, the implicit concept of revolution takes on a contemporary dimension against the background of current gender debates.
14.3 x 20 cm, Indian ink on:
Etching “Montmelian” by Merian, 1657
Gulf of Mexico, 2021,
37 x 22 cm, Indian ink and gouache on:
Copper engraving by Fridrich I.A. "Scorpius / Skorpion", from the Scheuzer Bible, 1740