Patricia Waller, "Sunday," 2019, Wolle, Füllwatte, Draht, Styropor, Kunststoff, Häkelarbeit, Kind: 75 cm / Stab: 155 cm, courtesy of Galerie Deschler, Berlin
Patricia Waller's most recent series of work is entitled "Victims" and is dedicated to the weakest and most defenseless members of our society, the children. In view of the seriousness of the topic, the artist deliberately dispenses with the ironic hyperbole and black humor, which are so often a hallmark of her works. The corona crisis with its occasionally strict lockdowns (especially in Spain, France and Italy, as well as currently in China, where people were at times not allowed to leave their apartments), has again drawn public attention to the problem of domestic violence, to which children are so often exposed. This has increased during this time of home office and increased stress when families were forced to share confined spaces continuously over weeks. The problem is, of course, anything but new. Sexual abuse of children has also come into focus again in the past few years, especially with news about widespread abuse by members of the Catholic Church and subsequent attempts of cover-up. Along the same lines are new revelations regarding the systematic abuse of native children in Canadian institutions during the 20th century, as well as the recurrence of school shootings in the United States. The terrible effects of wars on the physical and mental health of children is also something very much in the news again these days, but it, too, is an age-old problem that defies all the achievements of our advanced civilization that we are so proud of. Waller's work is not only concerned with the direct victims of bombings or other forms of warfare, but also with forcibly recruited child soldiers as victims of violence exerted by adults, as well as with traumatized children in refugee camps. In these works, Waller's characteristic combination of homely crochet work with disturbing subject matter is particularly shocking and disturbing.