France (b. 1947)
The work of Michel Nedjar is haunted by a confrontation with the mysteries of existence and the mutability of being, whether actively sought or suddenly imposed upon us. He is best known for his early series of poupées (c. 1976-1998)–biomorphic sculptures made from scrap, manipulated cloth which often evoke grotesque hybrid beings that might emerge from personal or collective nightmares.
Nedjar was born in the aftermath of the Holocaust to a family of Jews who immigrated to France from Algeria and Eastern Europe, many of whose close relatives were murdered in the Shoah, a history of which he was only vaguely aware until a 1960 viewing of Alain Resnais’s film Night and Fog. Suddenly, the horror of the extermination camps became disturbingly real through the visual image. Nedjar recalled: “Everything collapsed within me... I now knew that the other could kill me. I identified with the corpses. I felt the violence.”