With Heartfelt Gratitude for the Painless Treatment
by Anya Lewin
With Heartfelt Gratitude for the Painless Treatment developed from an inherited collection of autographed photographs of 1920’s film and theatre stars that frequented the Berlin dental practice of Anya Lewin’s Jewish Polish grandfather. He fled to the USA in 1938, soon after Krystallnacht and just before Hitler invaded Poland.
Shot with a nod to silent German Cinema, the film travels through the Wiener Library archive, where the artist discovered the original Berlin address of the surgery, to a re-imagining of the dental practice and its patients.
With Heartfelt Gratitude for the Painless Treatment is a blend of the historical with the imagined and theatrical. The story is full of holes, the only evidence being some glamorous photographs, a set of crystal dishes engraved with a Jewish star and mythical tales passed down through generations of Lewin's family.
The work suggests the respite for patients from the growing political mayhem that was offered by the internal space of the dental office. Scenes of slapstick dental exams, illustrious parties, flirtations and sad partings are augmented by the aural and textual elements of the work which acknowledge the growth of Nazi power beyond the sanctuary of the surgery. The visible construction of the set and installation operates to underline the fictional aspects of the work while the archival material represents the factual as the artist tries to understand her own relationship to this complex family history.
|Medium||Three screen synchronised video projection|
|Screening format||Mpeg2 DVD|
|Aspect ratio||16:9 FHA|
|Colour / B&W||Colour|
|Screens||3 (single screen version also available)|
With Heartfelt Gratitude for the Painless Treatment was made as part of the Small Wonders scheme and funded by Arts Council England South West and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, UK
06 – 15 June 2008
Picture This Atelier
03 May - 07 June 2008
Anya Lewin was commissioned to make With Heartfelt Gratitude for the Painless Treatment as part of our Small Wonders scheme 2008.
Our Small Wonders professional development scheme offered artists the mentoring support and technical resources needed for making film and video
Artist Gillian Wylde looks at Anya Lewin's references to cinema in With Heartfelt Gratitude...