This exhibition will be the first comprehensive retrospective of the body of work called Relative Unknowns, which Danielle Durchslag began in 2010 and is exhibiting upon its completion in 2013. The works are all based on her trove of private family photographs in which the subjects’ identities are no longer known by the living members of her family. Durchslag recreates the photographs as paper collage reliefs, assembling them from hundreds of pieces of cut paper, tape, glue, and the board settings of vintage photographs. In so doing, she honors the now anonymous individuals who make up her family’s past, resurrecting them in new materials. The body of work tells a personal yet universal story of immigration, class consciousness, family bonds, memory, and inter-generational transmission. It also illuminates, through one family’s images, the visual history of American photographic portraiture, highlighting photographic trends between the early 1900’s and the 1950’s. For Durchslag’s family in particular, this is a story of the Jewish diaspora, but the source photographs could belong to almost any family, with images of children, young people at times of graduation or achievement, family portraits, and the sometimes strange ensembles that populate the bins of the forgotten.
Danielle Durchslag was born 1981 and lives in New York City. She received a BA from Wellesley College and an MA from New York University. Her work has been exhibited in many gallery exhibitions in New York and at the Brooklyn Public Library, the Jewish Theological Seminary, The Wassaic Project, and the Invisible Dog. Her work is in numerous important private collections.