Berkeley, CA – Monday, March 21, marks the opening of Naomie Kremer’s multi-media exhibition Shtetl at the Magnes. Included in Shtetlis Kremer’s digital animation film, also titled Shtetl, which will be shown on continuous loop, and a group of Kremer’s contour drawings merged with Roman Vishniac’s black and white photographs.
In Shtetl, Naomie Kremer explores her relationship with her family by turning to a collection of Roman Vishniac’s 1930s photographs of the Polish shtetl entitled “A Vanished World.” The inhabitants of Vishniac’s world are reincarnated in contour drawings Kremer made on a found pad of preprinted watercolor paper from Venice. The drawings become the basis for Kremer’s three-minute digital animation film, and, finally, when layered with Vishniac’s photographs they become something altogether new.
For Kremer, the Vishniac photographs are a connection to her family in Europe before the war. Kremer recalls “As I leafed through the book [of Vishniac photographs], the familiarity of these images which I had never seen before shocked me. I realized they were familiar because of the two or three surviving photographs of my father’s family taken in Poland before he was ten or so.” Kremer’s father was the thirteenth child in his Polish family and the only one to survive the Holocaust. In 1944, at the age of sixteen, Kremer’s mother was shipped from her home in Romania to Auschwitz. After the war, both of Kremer’s parents found their way to Palestine, where they met in 1947.
Sunday, March 20, the Magnes will host an informal discussion between Naomie Kremer and Alla Efimova, chief curator of the Magnes. Kremer will discuss her installation and the film. The discussion will be followed by a reception for the artist.
Naomie Kremer was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Presently, she works from studios in Paris, France and Oakland, California. She received her MA in art history from Sussex University in Brighton, England and her MFA in painting and drawing from California College of the Arts (CCA). She has been a visiting faculty member at CCA, San Francisco Art Institute, and California State University at Hayward. On March 25, 2005, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art presents Keeping Time: Naomie Kremer Works 1992-2004, her first mid-career survey exhibition. The San Jose ICA exhibition will include large-scale paintings, drawings and digital animation films. In conjunction with Keeping Time, the San Jose ICA has published a full-length monograph with essays by Amei Wallach, Eleanor Heartney, and an interview by Cathy Kimball. In addition to exhibiting in solo and group shows in the United States, Kremer exhibits regularly with Modernism Inc. in San Francisco (www.modernisminc.com).
Shtetl is the second in a series of exhibitions entitled REVISIONS where artists, curators, and scholars are invited to create experimental installations inspired by the museum’s permanent collections. Kremer is responding to the photographs and documents at the Magnes relating to Jewish family life in Eastern Europe in the first half of the 20th century. The REVISIONS series is supported in part by the Fleishhacker Foundation.