My first installations were created for an exhibition on hygiene in collaboration with the Museum of Pully in 2006. The exhibition titled “From Hygiene to Art” was a sequel to my art project inspired by the album on hygiene, published by the Berlin department store N. Israel in 1912. On the theme of air, sun and water, I created three installations; huge drops of water from papier maché, painted plastic bottles of water, and a lamp from plexiglass.
“The artist points out correspondences with our current way of living and thinking about hygiene and raises our questioning by pointing out certain obvious contradictions (overconsumption, accumulation of waste, pollution). In order to communicate what she holds dear to her heart, including the fundamental importance of organic and ecological principles, Dessa, known for her abstract works, had to completely change register and offers us several avenues for reflection”.
Extract from texts by Pierrine Jan, Ethnologist
I created the next installation for my exhibition in the Mitte Museum in 2015/6 to commemorate 200 years since the founding of the N. Israel department store in Berlin (1815 – 1939). The last owner was Wilfrid Israel, a philanthropist who saved thousands of Jewish children sent to safety in England from Germany in 1938 and 1939 in what is known as the “Kindertransport”
My most recent installations were created for my tribute to the social reformer Alice Salomon. I collected objects and journals dealing with women’s hygiene and needlework. A 1904 edition of the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung was a lucky find in an antique market not far from my Berlin studio. It had published a two-page article on a women’s congress in Berlin with a photograph of Alice Salomon in the lower left corner. My installation “Symbols of a Life” shows the original article, circled with stones symbolizing all the many colleagues and friends of Alice Salomon. A pearl necklace is placed next to her photograph. In her will she left her pearl necklace to a friend who also had to emigrate from Germany to the USA.
Installations directly confront the viewer, who is immersed into a personal experience, similar to the theater. My paintings have been used as stage décor for musical theater, a play created and composed by Ines Halimi of the company Sans Oublier.
DESSA is well known not only for her projects combining music and visual art, including the creation of « Transoundart » but also for her research concerning artistic expression for collective memory.