With Heartfelt Gratitude for the Painless Treatment available as three screen installation or single screen PROJECT LIST
photo by Tom Riby


With Heartfelt Gratitude for the Painless Treatment  developed from an inherited and unexplained collection of autographed photographs of film stars that frequented my grandfather Dr Ignatz Lewin’s Berlin dental practice from the mid 20’s until he immigrated to the USA in 1938. A Jewish Polish family they fled soon after Krystallnacht and just before Hitler invaded Poland. 

With Heartfelt Gratitude for the Painless Treatment is a blend of the historical with the imaginative and theatrical. The story is full of holes, the evidence a group of glamorous photographs, a set of crystal dishes engraved with a Jewish star and a few mythical tales passed down through generations. This work does not try to sew together the pieces to tell a complete story, but to understand history as fragmentary and as a place for the imagination. The film travels through the Weiner Library archive to discover the original Berlin address of the dental office to reveal a film within a film - a re-imagining, shot with a nod to silent German Cinema, of the dental practice and its fascinating patients. 

What respite from the growing political mayhem did the internal space of the dental office offer? Imagined scenes of slapstick dental exams, illustrious parties, flirtations and sad partings are augmented by the aural and textual elements of the work which acknowledge the growth of Nazi power during the period. The obvious constructed set of both the film and the installation underline the fictional nature of the work while the archival material plays against this questioning.

archival photos
production stills
installation at Picture This
publicity with essay by Gillian Wylde (PDF)