stacheldrahtmann (barbed wire man)



Dedicated to David Ury

2 photographs height 89,1 cm x width 126 cm (edition of 7)
(Edition of 7: height 43cm x width 65.5 cm)
FineArt-Bond – digital pigment print,
lamination 3mm Dibond laminate

Insurance value of each photo 3000 Euros


Concept, camera, text and pen drawing Tanya Ury
Digital image processing Ingolf Pink

stacheldrahtmann (barbed wire man)
is a series of two photographs incorporating:
- the photographed images of 2 oil paintings - the portraits of Alfred and Nina Unger, the artist’s grandparents
- the digitally processed hand-written text of a short story by Tanya Ury, respectively in German and English
- and 2 pen and ink sketches of a of a barbed wire figurine, also by Ury.

The pieces are about aural and visual history. The short stories are about art history and loss, collage and collapse - the paintings are dated accordingly 1940 and 1945.




Background to Artwork:

Artists’ Biographies - Kurt Schwitters Page 4 - 1940/41
Interned in various camps in Scotland and England: ten days in Midlothian, south of Edinburgh, two weeks in Edinburgh, six weeks in York, ca four weeks in Bury, near Manchester (Lancashire), and finally, from 17th July in Hutchinson Camp, Douglas on The Isle of Man in the Irish Sea (until 21st November 1941). The establishment of an artists’ studio in Hutchinson Camp. The genesis of many portraits of other internees, as well as regular seminars in the camp’s artists’ café (amongst others the presentation of his first English poem silence). The publication of stories (amongst others The Story of the Flat and Round Painter) in the camp newspaper The Camp. Membership in the FDKB (Freier Deutscher Künstlerbund – Free German Association of Artists) in Great Britain, established in 1938 by Fred Uhlman. (Translation T. Ury)

„(…) Recollections of period at Hutchinson Camp, Isle of Man, 1940-1941: description of camp and facilities; accommodation; blackout; sleeping arrangements. (…)  methods of obtaining artists' materials; story of breaking up piano; various memories of prominent internees including: writers Richard Friedenthal, Alfred Unger, and Heinrich Fraenkel, journalist Rudolf Olden, graphologist Erich Singer, industrialists and doctors. REEL 6 Continues: various memories of designers and politicians in camp; political views of internees; discussion of Jewish question; effect of war on German industry; various memories of artists, art dealers and art historians in camp; further comments on artist Kurt Schwitters and opinion of work during and after war (…)“
Klaus Ernst Hinrichsen, German civilian - art historian in Lubeck, Germany, emigrated to GB, 1939; interned in Hutchinson Camp, Isle of Man, 1940-1941. Imperial War Museum interview (Übersetzung Tanya Ury & Amin Farzanefar)


„Schwitters painted a portrait of the Secretary of the German Pen in Exile, Rudolf Olden (catalogue raisonné 2650) in 1940, the General Secretary of the International PEN-Club, Hermon Ould (catalogue raisonné 3077), and further PEN-members Alfred H. Unger (catalogue raisonné 2655) and Richard Friedenthal (catalogue raisonné 2677 und 2749).“
Footnote 25: A letter from Kurt Schwitters to Christof and Luise Spengemann, 17.7.1946, in „Kurt Schwitters. 'We keep right on playing until death comes for us,”* Letters from a Period of Five Decades, Editor Ernst Nündel, Frankfurt (Main)/Berlin/Vienna 1974, P. 207. - Karin Orchard, „Kurt Schwitters – Catalogue raisonné 1937-1948“, picture library, Sprengel Museum, Hanover (D) (Translation T. Ury) *


Portrait of Dr. Alfred H. Unger, Kurt Schwitters, dated 1940, 68,2 x 68,2 (with frame), oil on wood (catalogue raisonné 2655)

Portrait of Ernina Unger, Kurt Schwitters, dated 1945, 62,5 x 75,5 (with frame), oil on canvas (catalogue raisonné 3183)