Erwin Pfrang

Erwin Pfrang
Lagerplan IV
Brush and pen and ink.
27 11/16 x 19 5/8 inches (70.3 x 49.8 cm)
Gift of David Nolan.
© Erwin Pfrang

Born and trained in Munich, Pfrang first gained recognition in the 1980s for his densely packed imagery in which figures emerge from abstract scrawls in a manner reminiscent of James Ensor, Giacometti, and Dubuffet. Passionate about literature, particularly James Joyce's "Ulysses," Pfrang developed a visual equivalent of Joyce's stream-of-consciousness writing technique in drawings that are teeming with enigmatic figures, objects, and symbols. This sheet belongs to a series of ten drawings inspired by "Austerlitz," W.G. Sebald's 2001 novel of memory lost and regained. It is based on the ground plan (Lagerplan) of the Theresienstadt ghetto, where tens of thousands of Jews were interned at any given time between 1941 and 1945. The appalling conditions of the ghetto, as well as its bizarre use in German propaganda, are discussed in Sebald's novel, in which the plan of the ghetto is reproduced.

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