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Mother and Daughter, 1994

The desire to create a puzzle out of a tiny picture came intuitively as I found an old photograph in a forgotten drawer. This picture made something move deep down inside me, something painful that I could not define but which transformed my reading of the picture: maybe the smile of my mother, maybe the way she held me or maybe the golden bracelet I still remember or the snowy mountains from my childhood in the background. But more than anything the smile of my mother was striking, it embodied a spontaneous happiness, something that belongs only to youth.

Yet why make a puzzle? Maybe it represented my revolt against the inexorability of time and against life that had not materialized the expectations embodied in my mother’s smile. The act of fragmentation seemed a benign thing to do as I got in touch with a factory that makes boxes of all sorts as well as puzzles.

At first the image was enlarged and looked beautiful but as it was slashed into one thousand pieces in a split of a second it felt awful. Was this act of fragmentation terrifying? did it contradict a romantic and utopian wish for blissful harmony?

Fifty copies were fragmented and put in boxes and a few copies were kept whole and laminated showing forever the scars of this violent mutilation.

Extract from the text ‘Mother and Daughter, 1993‘ in  90-70-90, Rona Sela, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Helena Rubinstein Pavilion For Contemporary Art, 1994, p. 24

Ariane Littman