Dobbin Mill abaca & cotton rag papers, graphite, wool blanket with sewing
Within these pulp paintings, permutations of numbers #1 through #186 are laboriously written out. The number variations are transcribed in Russian, German, & Yiddish, among others. The 186 refer to the number of steps in the Todessteige, at Mauthausen forced labor camp in Lower Austria.
The black sheets are patterned to suggest granite – with markings of scratching, clawing, dragging. These marks were made in reference to the concept of Primitivbauweise – created by SS Chief Heinrich Himmler, where prisoners were ordered to work with their bare hands wherever possible.
The first of these pieces were created for an installation about Mauthausen in 2000 at Temple Judea Museum in Philadelphia. More recently, Silverberg returned to this series, changing the original title Granite to Wiener Graben, the stone quarry, originally owned by the City of Vienna that was taken over by the SS in 1938 and the site of the camp.
The set is wrapped in an old wool blanket and placed in an anonymous box.