Patty’s most recent show draws from the life and cultural setting of giantess, Elizabeth Lyska, who became famous in the late 1880s. Born in a small and impoverished Russian village, Elizabeth started growing rapidly at the age of 4, and by the time she turned 11, was well over 7 feet tall. After the death of her parents, her uncle became her promoter and arranged tours for her throughout all of Europe. Wherever Elizabeth traveled, she became the center of attention—to scientists, suitors, and pedestrians—for she was not only famous for her size, but was also considered very beautiful.
Made completely out of paper, Elizabeth stands in the gallery at her actual height of 7’2”. Surrounding her are the many relics, toys, and keepsakes that she accumulated over her life: a ring and key that were given to her by an Austrian baron, a bouquet of roses that were named after her, a locket containing a picture of her parents. Each piece is accompanied by a
narration—fabricated by stray facts from newspapers, books, letters, and diaries, and written by her son, Tynan Kogane. With the fragile beauty and reference that only paper can properly evoke, this show recreates the splendor and aesthetic themes of an era, following Walter Benjamin’s approach, that “memory is not an instrument for surveying the past but its theatre.”