Karen Baldner German/Jew

Bust made of beige paper with blonde hair, on a black background. The bust has multiple open layers, as if the face and neck were cut open. Variations of the words German and Jew are repeated across the skin in white.

Karen Baldner (German, American, 1952- ). German/Jew. edition 5 of 10. 2003. Bloomington, Indiana.
Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica, Special & Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida.

Book artist Karen Baldner grew up in post-war Germany. The child of German-Jewish parents who were persecuted during the Nazi era, Baldner’s work tries to capture this experience. The book comprises four heads made of pigmented handmade paper shaped from a plaster cast of her head. Because the casts do not close, the sculpture gives the effect of multiple personalities, or at least layered dimensions, of what may seem a single entity from the outside. The words “German” and “Jew” are stenciled into the paper heads in German and English where they repeat, collide, and infringe upon each other.