Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

River, 2005 – Installation by Gerda Meyer Bernstein

Gerda Meyer Bernstein
Chicago, Illinois, United States

Artist Statement

River is a 32 ft. x 20 in. x 20 in. installation. It is made up of a wooden box with 10,000 vials filled with a red substance simulating blood. The vials overflow at one end, spilling all over the floor like the uncontrollability of the AIDS epidemic.

River expresses concerns about the global pandemic of AIDS. As a woman I am particularly concerned with the rise of AIDS in the female population. There exists pervasive gender inequity and disparity about women infected through violence, gang-rape and sex trade. Women are also underrepresented among those receiving AIDS drugs, which is a massive human rights violation!

I urge the viewer to participate in River, to think, and be moved to action.

PREVENTION AND TREATMENT are my overwhelming concerns

GERDA MEYER BERNSTEIN is an international artist based in Chicago, who has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. Ms. Bernstein is a Jew who left her home in Germany at the age of fourteen on one of the last “Kindertransports” to England and several years later moved to New York. Through fund raising and political work, she soon became involved and dedicated to the State of Israel. After receiving her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1978, her vehicle of expression and dedication became installation art, which deals with political and social injustices. Ms. Bernstein is driven by the need not to remain silent as a witness to the events of her time but instead to voice her concerns publicly through her art. Her work is currently featured at Fassbender Fine Art in Chicago.

Highlighted in Frontispiece Spring 2009 – Volume 1, Issue 3

Spring 2009



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