‘I am weaving you a shroud’: Rosemarie Koczÿ's Holocaust Memorial

Rosemarie Koczy

‘I am weaving you a shroud’: Rosemarie Koczÿ's Holocaust Memorial, an exhibition of drawings and documentation by Rosemarie Koczÿ (1939-2007), will open at the Callan Park Gallery on Wednesday 1 July, 6 to 8pm.

'Rosemarie Koczÿ (1939-2007) was a maker of pungent ink drawings, as well as paintings, tapestries and woodcarvings, which together are intimately connected to her traumatic childhood. Born to Jewish parents in Recklinghausen in northern Germany, she was deported at the age of three to the Traunstein concentration camp, near Dachau, and later to the Ottenhausen camp. Having lost almost her entire family, and with death and misery all around, she somehow survived, only to be shoved into a succession of orphanages after the Liberation. At the age of twenty, she moved to Switzerland and enrolled in 1961 at the School of Decorative Arts in Geneva, where she received her diploma after four years study in various media, including tapestry-weaving. In 1973, she met the art-collector Peggy Guggenheim and the museum director Thomas Messer, who encouraged her in her work in textile sculpture. Yet she felt unable to pursue a conventional style or career, for her creative impulse was dominated by the compulsion to speak of the unspeakable and bear witness to the horror of the Holocaust. Her most distinctive work emerged during the mid-1970s and 1980s, when she produced hundreds of pen drawings of anonymous, emaciated figures, which appear to writhe within a maelstrom of black needles. A solo show of her work in 1985 inaugurated the Neuve Invention series of exhibitions at the Collection de l’Art brut in Lausanne. The artist explained her art as a symbolic endeavor to “weave a shroud” for those who had perished. She also composed a thousand-page memoir about the camps, which is now lodged in the Holocaust museum archive in Jerusalem.' Roger Cardinal, Emeritus Professor of Literary & Visual Studies, University of Kent, UK.

‘I am weaving you a shroud’: Rosemarie Koczÿ's Holocaust Memorial will be on display until Saturday 1 August 2009.

Gallery hours:
Saturday, 11am to 4pm
By appointment on other days