The Train From Auschwitz A Journey from Shame to Self-Realization

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lecturer: David Gev
An program of mixed media

The Train: As a child, when my father would share his memories of the Holocaust, I imagined him peering out through the slits of a livestock car and taking in the beauty of the passing landscape on the railroad to Auschwitz-Birkenau. This is where my work, struggle and journey begins.

From: All previous trains traveled to Auschwitz. For a second-generation survivor like me, it is now time to thoughtfully and deliberately move on from Auschwitz and the other defiled grounds to seek healing and personal growth.

Auschwitz: Eli Wiesel said, "The Holocaust cannot be described, it cannot be communicated, it is unexplainable. To me it is a mystical event. I have the feeling almost of sin when I speak about it." I feel that a certain aspect of my work is about touching that which is un-describable.

A Journey: I am working my way through a sometimes painful, sometimes glorious, often mundane artistic and very personal journey. I feel as if I am inviting museum visitors to join my journey, if only briefly and perhaps to reflect on their own.

Shame: The actions taken against my parents in the Holocaust were so devaluing they became anguished and shamed. This describes my own struggle with claustrophobic anguish, the response to utter powerlessness, to the suspension of all possibilities, and to unwilling passivity and weakness. This is the root of my shame, the unfathomable sense of failure and weakness that cuts deeper into my soul, and which is at the core of my life struggles.

Self-Realization: The journey into self-realization, which seeks to discover the authentic self is on-going, and involves extensive preparation of mind and emotions to recognize, accept and embrace its occurrence. To lift the weight of carrying a whole ancestral shame on my shoulders is an everlasting process. The beauty I attempt to create is my particular tool, yet the message is universal.

Biographical note: David Gev was born in 1960 and was raised in Israel. He came to the US in 1987 to pursue a master's degree at USC. His business involved international trade in telecommunication commodities. In the last eight years David devoted himself to the development of his artistic process. Inspired by working with electronic engineers designing circuit boards; David fuses glass tiles and combines it with acrylic and aluminum panels to create abstract mixed-media sculptures. David interpretation of his work as to do with personal reflections on recounted memories told by his father but the essential element in his art is the concept of form which is associated with shape, structure, relationships; and ultimately, with questions of proportion and balance.

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