Monica Petzal grew up in London and studied Fine Art and History of Art in London and Sussex. In her artistic practice, which mainly features prints and works on paper, she draws heavily on her German Jewish heritage.
In 2013, Petzal began working on ‘The Dresden Project’, an ongoing series through which the artist attempts to come to terms with her ‘complex heritage, with Dresden and with Germany’. Dresden was the home of her Jewish mother, Hannalore Isakowitz, until she and her family were forced to leave in 1936 to escape persecution.
In the print ‘Dresden V’, Petzal overlays different types of image – photographs, maps, drawings and objects – found in her family’s archive. The lace tablecloth, porcelain cup and monogrammed spoon are all items, which Petzal’s family brought with them when they fled from Dresden to London.
The sign, which translates as ‘Jews not welcome’, is one which used to hang in the windows of shops, hotels and restaurants under the Nazis. Victor Klemperer, whose name appears on the right hand side of the work, was a friend of the Isakowitz family and became known for his diaries, which bore witness to the experience of Jews living under the tyranny of the Third Reich.