Born in Frankfort, Germany, Ulrike Weiss lives and works in Freiburg, Breisgau. She produced a variety of artistic projects in Morocco, Iran, Kazakhstan and other countries, where she had been invited as an artist and an art teacher of graduate education.
Ulrike Weiss’s work mainly focuses on historical documents and visual archives, in the Moroccan context.
As a starting point, she takes a historical phenomenon, the exodus of Jewish Berbers from Morocco to Israel in the 1960s, so as to change this perspective, transcend the reality of perception without being conceptual. It is about the historical dimension of art, taking the form of works with images from the past and an artistic reflection on image conditions.
Her art, therefore, creates a sort of knowledge or memory about visual and material culture. Unlike historiography, her work deals with what is happening to the documents in the artistic work, in which ways they change all in accordance with history, art history and politics.
As in the exhibition Paradise and loss, working with women’s portraits on postcards leads to taking different directions: they evoke a certain story, a story of nameless women we don’t know because their stories are neither told nor written, neither in Morocco nor in Israel.
In Ulrike Weiss’s work, they are intriguing as such: like silent witnesses that fade further and further in the memory and can only be found as traces.
On women’s portraits, the attention is brought on their hands represented with a certain emptiness. These inactive hands move away from the photos themselves and turn to traditional craft traditions, especially the making of jewelry and textiles.
Through pictures, abandoned cemeteries show even more clearly the disappearance of memories and traces: there is the relatively new facade, a wall, but the cemetery is empty, without even remains of tombstones or other forms of commemoration. As if the dead were gone with the Jews themselves.
In this artwork from Ulrike Weiss, all these elements combine to form some kind of oblivion archive: faces, hands, jewelry, empty houses, and synagogues – all these elements linked with lines.