The Letter:

Jan 8/1947
Dear Mr. Marks,
Sitting on the train en rout from Chicago to NY...There is plenty of time to think.

This letter, I hope, will not bore you too much, and I also hope that you’ll not consider me presumptuous for writing.
Within another few weeks I shall be leaving for Palestine and there arises the need of an attempt at evaluating motives, hopes, and fears at this time.
Since I saw you last I have become married - to a girls I met at the farm and up to then, I manage to make two others a little hear broken. This is not as a record of achievement but rather a tribute to one of your frequent remarks about my inability to experience selfless love -which haunts me now and then.
The decision was made - not in one big step but in many little decision, not significant in themselves - each committing me a little more to what I am about to carry out. This was by no means an unconscious process- or a letting my self be tricked - the steps were taken willingly and knowingly: and in spite of that I somehow feel cheated of experiencing a big moment of decision. There were many small decisions and the motives were not always clear and while I should like to think that these steps are butt a result of my rational thinking- they seem in moments of doubts, -
but so many easier ways out and to put the matter extreme- the easiest way out for a masochist is to be tormented.

I recall that you felt that one of the greatest handicaps to rational living was the universal human desire to be exclusive- to be something that no one else could be: and this I found to be true and I also suffer from this desire. At the same time it is the very desire to be outstanding that made possible some of the outstanding achievements of the human race. All these achievement have not enable us to create) rational” world- and I admit that the price we have to pay for this (progress) is far out of proposition to the good we might derive from it.

In these days of Atomic bombs - of loose talk about a third world war
of camps in Europe - and detention camps in Cyprus, it is difficult to live a (meaningful) life. These are days when the intellectuals speak of the need to return to fate, and the masses find their fate in fascism. In days when human lives are of no importance and power is the only criteria of morality - power becomes God and fate. …
- we see a large part of the organizations turning to terrorism - which lead to fascism.

But I do not want to give un do emphasis to external circumstances.
The main problem I’m sure lies very much with me: The caliber of a person is to be measured as he stands up in difficulty and not as he submits to it.

I don’t know how well I stand up in this adventure - in submerging my personal desires and ambitions to the group- of in being heroic when it is so expected.
I remember the time when I wanted to be a “hero” and I wanted to show that I would not do what the Nazis wanted me to do – and how fast I was convinced to change my mind after a beating, And I wonder how I shall stand up.

The question of submerging my “ego” is a very real one. You know my arrogance, ”my selfishness, and intolerance. And worst of all you know my true interest in other people. My inability to remember names and faces is but an indication of this fact. I like to think that I learned a few things and that I became less offensive...but sometimes I have serious doubts.
The most efficient person is no good if he doesn’t commend the respect and affection of the people he works with.… that is trite but how true. I really don't know the answer to the last- accept that however I shell be- there will be the same difficulties to face and I shell have to get along with others and myself.

Maybe that is the answer.

Yours truly,
Hans Preis
Back
Youth Gathering, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
160 x 105 cm
ABNER PREIS
Book Burning, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
105 x 160 cm
S=Style Hugo Boss Uniforms, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
160 x 105 cm
S=Style Hugo Boss Uniforms, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
160 x 105 cm
S=Style Hugo Boss Uniforms, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
160 x 105 cm
Hans Preis, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
100 x 70 cm
S=Style Hugo Boss Uniforms, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
160 x 105 cm
Broken Heart 1, 2013
Fire on White Paper
100 x 70 cm
Broken Heart 4, 2013
Fire on White Paper
100 x 70 cm
Broken Heart 3, 2013
Fire on White Paper
100 x 70 cm
Youth Gathering, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
160 x 105 cm
Youth Gathering, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
160 x 105 cm
Humiliation, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
160 x 105 cm
S=Style Hugo Boss Uniforms, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
160 x 105 cm
Broken Heart 2, 2013
Fire on White Paper
100 x 70 cm
Family Matters, 2013
Fire on Brown Paper
160 x 105 cm
S=Style

Some time ago, my father sent me a letter from his father to his teacher Mr. Marks dating Jan 8th 1947. In this letter, my grandfather speaks of love, fear, humiliation, socialism, fascism, terrorism- events prior to his escaping Vienna, Austria-.
S=Style is a body of work inspired by this letter.

The series consists of a performance, installation and sound scape. (these images are a selection from over 40+ drawings)