Erna Rosenstein “At the Same Time”, 1968, oil on canvas, 83 x 116 cm
Erna Rosenstein (1913–2004) was a painter and poet, born in Lviv, educated in Krakow and Vienna, lived in Warsaw. In 1968 the paintings of Rosenstein, who survived the Holocaust, show motifs related to a climate of oppression. However, the painting we find in our collection is far from unambiguous.
We see a mysterious series of mini-paintings which could be her earlier works—if she had painted them. But they are just fantasies, variations on the subject of her work. The scene in the upper right-hand corner resembles a painting by Nikifor, famous outsider artist. Is it a museum in miniature? A life story locked in a suitcase? In the middle of the composition the artist has placed a laboratory-organism, half body, half machine, that encrypts the access code to this memory box.