Blessings May Break from Stone

APRIL 8 – APRIL 29, 2010

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and Casa Argentina in Jerusalem present the artistic works of Peter Bulow in his first one-man show, Blessings May Break from Stone. Organized in commemoration of Yom Hashoah, the show will feature a retrospective of 20 years of work by the artist on the theme of the Holocaust and his mother’s past as a hidden child in Budapest. A reception for the artist will be held on April 15 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Bulow has been commissioned by the IRWF to make five bronze portraits sculptures of three rescuers — Raoul Wallenberg, Angelo Roncalli, and Luiz Martins De Souza Dantas — which will have their debut in Blessings May Break from Stone. ”We couldn’t have chosen a better candidate to undertake such a task,” explains IRWF Founder Baruch Tenembaum, ”Peter is not only an extremely talented artist, but he grew up listening to his family’s stories about the Holocaust. Once we learned his grandmother had been saved by Wallenberg, we knew he would be able to incorporate his own background into the pieces.”

Peter Bulow was born in India and spent his childhood in Berlin. It was in that city that he began sculpting. He would take clay to the Berlin Zoo and model the animals during excursions with his father’s family. It was much later, when the family moved to the U.S., that Bulow met his mother’s side of the family and began to listen to their stories on the Holocaust.

While a medical student in Illinois, Bulow wrote Stories From My Mother, 1994, a play inspired by those stories. Performed by actors and seven over life-sized puppets of his parents, grandparents, great-aunt and uncle, the play had five well-received performances in Champaign, IL. Some of these puppets are exhibited in the show, as well as the iconic Alzheimer’s Madonna, 2007, also featured on the front cover of the March 2008 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The Alzheimer’s Madonna, 2007, embodies the figure of Bulow’s step-grandfather, an Auschwitz survivor. ”As a child, his frailty, exacerbated by Alzheimer’s disease, struck me deeply. ”The Madonna/Venus in my sculpture is holding an old man who is at the end of his life, but she is in her prime. Together, they form a whole and circle around each other in a dance. The young woman, an image of energy and virility, and the old man, a symbol for memory, are bound together as they are in our own psyches, in which the young self and the old self coexist throughout our lives.”

The sculpture could also be understood as the representation of the decaying state of Holocaust remembrance and the importance of maintaining those memories alive by passing on family stories and testimonies to younger generations. The body of Bulow’s work is a clear example of the importance of such recollections. ”Blessings May Break from Stone is about the impact that my mother and father’s past has had on my life,” concludes Bulow.

Peter Bulow’s exhibit will be on view weekdays from April 8 to April 29, 2010, at the IRWF’s Cultural Space, located at 34 East 67th Street, New York.
Hours: 9am to 4pm, by appointment