The Art of Remembrance: Alice Salomon

Exiled from Germany in 1937, Alice Salomon died in New York, alone,
in August 1948. e same year in December, DESSA was born Deborah
Sharon Abeles in Southern Rhodesia, today Zimbabwe.
Social reformer, educator, feminist, economist and peace activist, Alice
Salomon (1876–1948) founded the Social School for Women in Berlin
in 1908.

She wrote 28 professional books and over 500 articles and yet is
relatively unknown outside the circle of social studies.
DESSA uses various techniques to create a tangible approach to Alice
Salomon’s intensive and extensive life: paintings, collages, objects, installations
and an imaginary conversation together form a thorough

Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag | Berlin Leipzig

ISBN 978-3-95565-293-7

Stolzesteine – Stones-of-Pride

How can art serve collective Jewish memory? This is a major theme in DESSA’s work. DESSA’s Stolzesteine are small upright stones placed within her pictures. They honour the memory of a person or persons and their lifetime achievements.
She dedicates this series of paintings to mark the 200 years since Nathan Israel opened his store on March 10th 1815, and pays tribute to the philanthropy and social engagement of the firm over four generations. The history of Berlins Kaufhaus N. Israel has been part of her artistic research since she discovered their 1912 book “Die Hygiene im Wandel der Zeiten” (“Hygiene Throughout the Ages”). DESSA’s first tribute to N. Israel in 2003 was presented at Galerie Bremer in Berlin and the Jewish Museum in Westphalia, and inspired an exhibition on hygiene at Musée de Pully in Switzerland.
DESSA feels disturbed and hurt by the Stolpersteine. They lie flat in pavements to be trampled on and dirtied not only by dust, boots and bicycles, but also by birds,dogs, and cigarettes. People “look down” on them, rather than “looking up” as suggested by the “Stolzesteine”.
Prof. Holt Meyer, inspired by DESSA’s Stolzesteine, wrote her an essay in which he says: “The Stolperstein is amongst other things a New Testament’s image. […] This makes it particularly problematical as a method of commemorating murdered Jews.”

Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag | Berlin Leipzig

ISBN: 978-3-95565-112-1


60 Jahre Galerie Bremer – Berlin
64 pages with 30 colour illustrations. German

Mit Gedichten von Ulrike Hofmann.Das Wortspiel, das in dem Titel dieser Ausstellung steckt, ist ohne weiteres und so elegant nicht ins Deutsche zu übertragen. Landscape – Landschaft, verbunden mit „Escape“, zu Deutsch: Fliehen, Entkommen, Ausströmen.

Gleichwohl ist auf dem ersten Blick klar, worum es hier geht. Wir treten vor Landschaften, die sich der topographisch oder geographisch genauen Festlegung, der „Verortung“, entziehen. Und doch sind solche Bilder als Utopien, als glücksverheißende ideale „Unorte“ (wie die wörtliche Übersetzung aus dem Griechischen lautet), spätestens seit der Romantik feste Topoi, d.h. traditionelle Motive.

Deborah Petroz-Abeles

ISBN 2-940223-04-1



Rucksaldruck, Berlin
May 2003

This tribute is intended to inform about one of Berlin’s oldest and biggest department stores, N. Israel.After Kristallnacht, Wilfred Israel, the last owner from the Israel family, was forced to sell the firm and the building was entirely demolished in the Second World War. The name of the firm has completely disappeared and most Berliners today have never heard of N. Israel.

N. Israel published albums each year between 1900 and 1914. Album 1912, with the unusual title of “Hygiene Throughout the Ages”, incited Dessa to create 43 art works and this book, as a tribute to N. Israel, to inform about the story of the firm. The art works, which refer to the Art Nouveau period, will be exhibited in Berlin, at Gallery Bremer, in February 2004.

ISBN 1-940233-03-3



Music and Painting
Inspiration: ParaMetaString – Unsuk Chin
Vergessenes Bild – Detlev Glaner
Texts by Dr Petra Lange, Frank Harders-Wuthenow & DESSA

The Korean composer Unsuk Chin and Detlev Glanert, who is German, are two of the most important composers of their generation. Anyone familiar with their music will understand the breadth of DESSA‘s stylistic horizon and the degree of her sensitivity to extremely divergent musical languages. It is hardly surprising that the two composers themselves have a strong affinity to visual art, and that the visual element plays a decisive role in their work. This may also explain why DESSA is particularly attracted to their music. Detlev Glanert‘s and Unsuk Chin‘s music appeals to two very different areas of her spiritual and emotional universe, so that both work cycles – which were created in parallel – complement each other perfectly. They bear witness to an artistic process that strikes creative sparks from encounters: with people, and with works. The transcendence and empathy that can be felt in every one of her paintings is one of the qualities of DESSA’s art that I particularly treasure, and I am pleased that I was able to contribute in some way to the creation of this group of works.
Frank Harders-Wuthenow

As a small child I began to play the piano. Later I sang in a choir and took singing lessons, so one could argue that I am inspired by music simply because it has always been a part of my life. This is surely one conscious reason, but I have come to understand that some music enables me to connect and express material from the depths of my unconscious that otherwise I might not be able to access.

Deborah Petroz-Abeles

ISBN: 978-3-95565-112-1

Do we smile or do we weep?

Paintings based on Benjamin Britten´s Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from Peter Grimes

This centenary tribute to the composer Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976) in the form of 47 paintings by the artist DESSA is based on the Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from his opera Peter Grimes. The luminous moods of the interludes are painted on large canvas whilst on small format, the handwritten notes are interpreted as intimate symbols through free association.
In Berlin, the artist discusses Benjamin Britten with Frank Harders-Wuthenow from Boosey & Hawkes, Britten’s publisher, and is interviewed on her life and work by the journalist Gaby Sohl.

Texts: Frank Harders-Wuthenow, Dessa, Gaby Sohl, Janis Susskind

Deborah Petroz-Abeles

ISBN 2-940223-06-8

A Legacy From Theresienstadt

80 pages with 41 color illustrations


Texts: Various texts about the composer, Theresienstadt and an analysis of the music by Cornelius Witthoefft. Several pages of the original piano score are included.
Author: DessaPublisher: Deborah Petroz-Abeles
Printer/layout: Imprimerie Corbaz S.A.,Montreux 1997

DESSA – Paintings inspired by Viktor Ullman’s Piano Sonata No. 7.
 The intention of this book is to perpetuate the legacy from Theresienstadt, to keep the music of Viktor Ullmann alive. Shortly after composing this piano sonata in Theresienstadt, Viktor Ullman was send to his death in Auschwitz.
 This collection of paintings has been exhibited in Basel, Geneva, Saarbrücken, Berlin, the Museum of Pully and the Ghetto museum of Theresienstadt (Terezin)

Deborah Petroz-Abeles

ISBN 2-940223-00-9

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