Gedanken sind Frei / Thoughts are Free - Video Slideshow
Artist Leslie Nicholl narrates a slideshow of images from his current exhibition at the North Down Museum, featuring images of Nazi detainees
Bangor artist Leslie Nicholl's current exhibition, Gedanken sind Frei / Thoughts are Free, features 60 portraits painted on handkerchiefs made of Irish linen – 60 faces, young and old, male and female, staring directly and defiantly out at the viewer.
The faces are all real, and are interpretations of photographs taken of concentration and work camp detainees on arrival, and subscequently meticulously archived by the Nazis. They are on display in the North Down Museum in Bangor until February 24, 2013.
The exhibition is dedicated to the Nicholl's great friend, the author and Auschwitz survivor, Helen Lewis, whom Nicholl has worked with on previous exhibitions and whose memoir, A Time to Speak, has been a lasting influence on Nicholl's work.
The title of the exhibition, Gedanken sind Frei / Thoughts are Free, is taken from the title of a poem written by anti-fascist German barrister, Hans Litten, who defended workers' rights in Germany at various high profile trials and who cross-examined Adolf Hitler for three hours during one such trial in 1931.
Litten was subsequenrly arrested and tortured by the Nazis. He committed suicide in Dachau concentration camp in 1938. ‘Gedanken sind Frei’ was written by Litten shortly before his death.
Nicholls' 60 portraits are untitled and suspended in in such a way that they move and sway as gallery-goers walk by, creating a 'ghostly effect'. Watch the video below, featuring commentary by Leslie Nicholl, to learn more about the exhibitition.