Collection Life

"Holocaust" by Pascal Verbena: a Major Donation to the Collection de l'Art Brut.

Generously donated to the Collection de l’Art Brut, Holocaust, a piece by the French self-taught artist Pascal Verbena (Neuve Invention) born in Marseille in 1941, will go on display at the Collection de l'Art Brut from 22 November 2012, together with works from Rosemarie Koczÿ and Michel Nedjar.

Verbena executed his masterwork, which recounts the Shoa (the Hebrew term for the Holocaust), as a tribute to his grandfather, who was deported to the Fréjus (France) concentration camp.

This monumental work, over four meters long, is Verbena's largest creation to date. It belongs to his Reredos Series, assemblage sculptures mainly of salvaged driftwood and comprising a multitude of drawers and secret compartments. The Holocaust sculptures contain graveyard soil and the photos of persons considered to have disappeared. Completed in 1988, until now this piece was set up in a private apartment in New York.

Beginning in November 2012, the Collection de l'Art Brut will feature a newly designed exhibition layout for its permanent collection: the 1st floor's room will present some works on the thematic of the Holocaust with Verbena's masterpiece in the center, together with pieces by Rosemarie Kocsy (Neuve Invention) et de Michel Nedjar.

The India ink drawings on the walls are by Holocaust survivor Rosemarie Koczÿ; they belong to her I Am Weaving You a Shroud series that draws on the simple white shroud belonging to the Jewish burial rite. Living in the United States, the act of sending her drawings by dozens to the Collection de l'Art Brut was her way of offering a worthy and respectful burial to those whose death she had witnessed in the camps. Later, she went on to produce carved wood bas-reliefs.

To accompany these works, the Collection de l'Art Brut displays pieces by Michel Nedjar. Although many members of his family suffered under the Nazis during World War II, it was only in 1960 that the extent of their devastation really hit Michel Nedjar. At that point he began creating works out of cast-off cloth rags he picked up in the Goutte d'Or district of Paris, going on to create dolls that looked more like gargoyles or terrifying totems. Subsequently, he took up drawing on supports salvaged from, in the main, flea markets.

Illustration caption:
Pascal Verbena
The Holocaust, undated
assemblage of wood and various materials
200 x 400 cm
Photo : © B.M.Caramante.
Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne