Suly.B | Arte Laguna PrizeSuly.B
Sao Paulo, Brazil 1957

Towers in the air

Art section: Art Design

Dimensions: 200.00×85.00×40.00

Year: 2019

Materials: Glass, crystal, Murano glass

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Over the past few years I have been working with glass intended for lighting fixtures, vases, plates, and other objects. Most of the old glass which I gather or buy in markets and shops in Israel and abroad is transformed in my hands to stand-alone sculptural objects.I construct pieces that look like towers, or perhaps synagogues or churches, or maybe houses from the past. Others originate in reality or in my imagination. Still other images bring to mind human figures.I use glass very frequently but delicately. The process from purchase through the finished object comprises stages of through cleansing of the object which has been forgotten for years in a dark corner of one of the out-of-the-way shelves of a dusty shop. After very slowly washing and drying glass pieces, I intuitively connect the parts, and create a new object. Each series contains sub-series, such as “Towers in the Air,” “The Baroque Era,” “The Royal Courtyard,” and more.The glass and crystal remind me of the past, stories about my parents’ house in pre-World War II Europe, seeming to attempt to open a wound that has not yet scabbed over and which I doubt will ever heal.Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to parents who were Holocaust survivors, as a young girl I often listened to the pain and suffering that they endured during their adolescence. Already during my childhood, with the innocence so characteristic of a child, I found it difficult to understand that their suffering was due only to the fact that they were born Jewish. As I grew up, it was not long before I felt that my parents’ life deeply impacted me as a person and as an artist.The Glass Series:My mother was born in Moenchengladbach, Germany. She told me how one day, several months before the war began, German soldiers entered their home, took her father and imprisoned him in the Dachau concentration camp. My grandfather was a distinguished jurist; my grandmother used her numerous contacts, and two weeks later, by some miracle, was able to free her husband from the concentration camp. While my grandfather was in Dachau, my mother, with her mother and other relatives, experienced Kristallnacht. That was the night that the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, shattered all of the synagogues and broke into Jewish homes in Germany, burning Torah scrolls and holy texts, as well as the contents of the buildings.Mother told me how my grandmother and her four children took shelter that night with Christian neighbors, fearing they would be taken sooner or later. The next morning, when they returned home to investigate the damage sustained at the hands of the Gestapo, they were shocked to find their home in ruins, all the windows shattered, and the furniture destroyed, including an antique breakfront in which rare Bohemian crystal objects, wedding gifts and other presents that my grandmother received since, were kept. All of the lovely objects were shattered and strewn about. In another room, my mother saw her favorite doll thrown onto the glass fragments on the floor. This was a horrifying sight for my mother, which she frequently described. It was very difficult for me at age 10 to absorb the extent of the evil and the vivid scenes my mother described, but, of course it all filtered into my mind. The description of the orphaned doll has arisen in me from time to time since childhood, as well as in recent years after my mother passed away. Now, added to her story, were thoughts of a young girl’s sorrow, one whose entire universe was a doll, a house, and a family, and how in the space of a single night, all of her security was shattered and disappeared. I then decided to create the Glass Series.In my imagination, I saw myself, member of the Second Generation of Holocaust survivors, the most terrible disaster in which my father’s parents and siblings were murdered. After Grandfather returned from Dachau, after Kristallnacht, he decided to leave Germany for as distant a generation as possible and the experiences of Kristallacht, he decided to leave Germany for as distant a location as possible from that cursed area. In less than a month, accompanied by my grandmother and their last-born, late-born child, made their way to Brazil. Three of the girls were sent to England with the Kindertransport, where they were shuttled from one boarding institution to another for the five years of the war. The Glass Series was conceived out of the desire that arose repeatedly in me like a mantra: gather up the remains, put them together, rebuild and renew the crystal tears, resuscitate them from the earth of Europe soaked in Jewish blood and the cries of my forefathers. Although the Germans broke all the windows, they never cleaned up the millions of fragments which were revived by the sunbeams the next day.The work process begins. I gather the glass from the floor, renew the shards, and add color and light.My intention: to reveal, to make something, to expose to the world the maximum capacities of a single shard of glass…and to reflect to the world the empowerment of the individual, on behalf of all those who gave up their life but not their faith and hope.