University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
chgs@umn.edu
612-624-0256


CHGS

Daisy Brand

Daisy Brand was born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in 1929; Brand survived the Holocaust in several the camps including Auschwitz. She iimmigrated to the United States in 1966 and attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and Boston University School for the Arts. Her porcelain sculptures have also appeared in the After Auschwitzexhibit, which toured Europe in 1995.

Brand is an artist who challenges Theodor Adorno's notion that to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric. Her ceramic art expresses images of isolation and destruction. On first appearance, most of her works appear to be made of paper, images of chimneys, smoke, the Ten Commandments, lonely corridors, and the pinkness of human flesh, are all used to reflect her wartime experiences.

My father was a banker in Bratislava. He was given a posting to the eastern part of Czechoslovakia, near the border with Rumania and Ukraine. While we were there, we were rounded up and transported to a Jewish ghetto. We were then transported to concentration camps. I myself spent time in seven different camps, including Auschwitz. I was only fourteen years old when I was incarcerated and I subsequently saw my entire family murdered.

Artist's Statement

One of the principles underlying my work is the wish to give testimony to an era and communicate an experience that is totally unique in history and which I was a part of. I was interested in drawing since early childhood. After the Second World War as a teenage survivor of the Holocaust, I had no opportunity to pursue art, while trying to grow on my own, and survive in postwar Czechoslovakia.

Much later, when life became more stable, at the age of thirty-two I enrolled in art school, majoring in ceramics. For years I worked in various techniques in clay, making functional pottery, teaching and turning to sculptural forms eventually in order to better express personal concerns. Gradually expressions of my Holocaust experience started to penetrate this work in the early 1980s.

My references are suggestive and deliberately ambiguous. I try to keep the exact meaning of some of the symbolism in my work private, and I hope to evoke an emotional response in the viewer to the power and meaning of that symbolism, which I believe is universal as well as personal.

The material I work with, namely porcelain as well as other clays, undergoes a dramatic metamorphosis from soft, smooth, almost sensual, to hard and resilient. To bring about this metamorphosis, the clay has to go through intense heat, radiating an orange glow from the cracks of the kiln, not unlike the crematoria in the night sky of Auschwitz. In my use of colours I allude to this analogy. The process in clay work is as old as civilization itself. Somehow the fascination for me is that fire in this case creates, rather than destroys, which I hope to apply to my life as well.

- Daisy Brand

Artworks: Absence/Presence

viewfromtrain
View From the Train
Ceramic & wood, 38"x22"x3"
gravelroadtracks
Graveled Road and Tracks, Clay, wood and wire, 27"x18"x3"
endoftunnel
End of the Tunnel
Clay & wood, 19"x22"x2"
rvins
Ruins
Ceramic & wood, 28"x20"x3"
temple
Temple Ruins
Ceramic & wood, 29"x21.5"x2.5"
relocation
Relocation
Ceramic & wood, 30"x18"x3"
brickyard
Brickyard #3
Stoneware, porcelain & wood, 29"x20"x2.5"
brickyard5
Brickyard #5
Ceramic & wood, 26"x20"x2.5"
brickyard5a
Brickyard #4
Ceramic & wood, 28"x20"x4"
insideouts
"Inside, Outside"
Earthenware, porcelain & wood, 38"x33"x5"
lookingback
Looking Back Then and Now
Ceramic & wood, 30"x20"x2.5"
vaultscrolls
Vault with Scrolls
Stoneware, porcelain & wood, 24"x17"x2.5"
epilogue
Epilogue
Porcelain & wood, 26"x18"x2"
epilogue3
Epilogue #3
Stoneware, porcelain & wood, 28"x20"x2.5"
arrival
Arrival #8
Stoneware, porcelain & wood, 23"x17"x2"
sacred
The Sacred Road
Stoneware, porcelain & wood, 28"x20"x2.5"
sacred2
The Sacred Road #2
Stoneware, porcelain & wood, 20"x21"x4"
sacred3
The Sacred Road #3
Stoneware, porcelain & wood, 34"x24"x2"
resettle
Resettlement to the East
Stoneware, porcelain & wood, 28"x18"x2.5"
memories
Memories (1944)
Stoneware, porcelain, wood & wire, 25.5"x20"x3"
railwaystation
The Railway Station
Stoneware, porcelain & wood, 16"x13"x3"
gates
"Gates"
Porcelain & wood, 17"x25"x2.5"
gatenguard
Gate & Guard #7
Ceramic & wood, 23"x29.5"x3.5"
gate
The Gate
Ceramic & wood, 29"x22.5"x3.5"
gate2
The Gate #2
Ceramic & wood, 25"x20"x3"
descend4
The Descent #4
Ceramic & wood, 30"x20"x2.5"
lastrip
Last Trip
Porcelain & wood, 33"x16.5"x4"
lastrip2
Last Trip #2
Porcelain & wood, 23"x19"x3"
laststop
"Last Stop"
Porcelain & wood, 24"x19"x4", 1984
interiors
Interiors
Porcelain & wood, 29"x22"x3"
interior5a
Interiors #5
Clay, 16"x13"x3"
interior5b
Interiors #5
Clay, 16"x13"x3"
interior2Interiors #2
Porcelain & wood, 27"x20"x2"
descend
The Descend
Porcelain, 27"x22"x3"
descend2
The Descend
Earthenware, porcelain & wood, 38"x21.5"x4", 1990.
brokenpromise
"The Broken Promise"
Earthenware, porcelain & wood, 33"x38"x4", 1990.
towardscamp
Towards Camp C
Porcelain & wood, 22"x19"x3", 1988.
diptych2
Diptych #2
Ceramic & wood, 28"x38"x4"
   
triptych2
Triptych #2
Ceramic & wood, 22"x55"x3"
triptych
Triptych
Porcelain & wood, 20"x55"x4", 1983.

Page updated 2013