DESSA is the pseudonym for artist and author Deborah Sharon Abeles, who was born in 1948 in Southern Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe). After high school, she lived in Israel from 1965 to 1976 where she studied Occupational Therapy. The following four years she spent in Paris, and in 1981, moved to Switzerland with her two children. Of a multi-cultural background, she became a Swiss citizen in 1983 and lives in Pully with her husband Hervé Petroz.

Since 1986, over fourty exhibitions and presentations of her work have been held in museums, galleries and concert halls in Europe. Her first exhibition in Berlin, at Galerie Bremer, took place in 1994. Since 2005 she has a second studio and home in Berlin.


Current Exhibition & News

L’ART: écho de l’indicible 
Educational project for students based on a selection of my paintings from the series “A Legacy from Theresienstadt “
College de Beaulieu, Lausanne
Opening March 3, 2020


2019 Lesung und Ausstellung: Die Kunst des Gedenkens, in der BEGINE, Potsdamer Str. 139 Berlin. Die Schweizer Künstlerin DESSA erinnert an die Sozialreformerin, Pädagogin und Feministen Alice Salomon: eine visuelle Biografie in Form von Gemälden und Collagen. Zentrales Anliegen ihrer künstlerischen Arbeit ist es, deutsch-jüdische Vergangenheit und Kultur als lebendigen, wirksamen Teil unserer Gesellschaft heute zu betrachter
2019 Giacometti ou le jeu de mots, sur scène, les ouvre vibrantes de la peintre Dessa, font résonner le paroles de "l´amoureux de mots", Giacometti:
2018 Ausstellungszentrum Pyramide Berlin: "DESSA Kunst und Erinnern", Ausstellung anlässlich des Gedenkens an die anisemitischen Progrome im November 1938, unter der Schirmherrschaft von Petra Pau (Vizepräsidentin des Bundestags)
2018 frauenmuseum wiesbaden: "The Art of Remembrance: Alice Salomon 1872 - 1948",
2017 Fondation L’Estrée. Ropraz, Suisse, DESSA & VIKTOR ULLMANN: « JE VOUS AI ENTENDU ET JE VOUS REPONDS, 4.3.2017 - 30.4.2017
2015 Mitte Museum, Berlin - DESSA - Kaufhaus Nathan Israel 1815 - 1939 - Eine Künstlerin erforscht Geschichte
2008 20th Festival Anniversary of Krakow Composers – paintings inspired by the music of Messiaen and Ullmann. Exhibiition held in the Centrum Judaicum, Krakow<br />-Foyer Amtsgericht, Bad Cannstatt, Stuttgart – DESSA "Land Escapes". Exhibition organised by Irene Schmid, Galerie Kunsthöfle<br />-Concerts de Monbenon, Lausanne – 10th Anniversary of the magazine Ph+arts. Lala Isakova, piano with simultaneous screen projection of the paintings from "A Legacy from Theresienstadt"<br />-Musique et pinceaux – 5 concerts, painting live with screen projection – in collaboration with the composer Dominique Gesseney-Rappo, Blaise Héritier and the Orchestra "Flying Brass", film Bernard Villat
2006 Musée de Pully – "De l’hygiène à l’art" (artist and co-curator of the exhibition)
2005 Jüdisches Museum Westfalen, Germany – "A Tribute to Kaufhaus N. Israel -1815 – 1939" Paintings and collages based on Album N. Israel 1912 "Hygiene throughout the Ages"
2002 Ghetto Museum, Terezin, Czech rep., exhibition "A Legacy from Theresienstadt" and concert organised by the Terezin Chamber Music Fondation. Exhibition patroned by the Embassy of Switzerland, Prague. Music of Viktor Ullmann and Hans Krasa performed by the Hawthorne Quartet, Boston.<br />-Spanish Syngogue, Prague – concert and exhibition of paintings inspired by Hans Krasa’s Quartet 1924. Music performed by the Hawthorne Quartet, Boston. Event organised by Mark Ludwig, director of the Terezin Chamber Music Foundation
2001 College St-Michel, Fribourg – organ concert by René Oberson with simultaneous screen projection of "Turangalîla" paintings.  Exhibition of paintings inspired by Oberson’s "Porte Mystique"<br />-St. Ludwig Kirche, Berlin – organ concert by Mario Bohnhoff. Music improvised from paintings exhibited
2000 Musée de Pully, Switzerland – "DESSA : Lyric Abstraction 1990 - 2000" -Berliner Dom, Berlin – "A Legacy from Theresienstadt" - exhibition with symphonic concert patroned by the Swiss Ambassador to Berlin, Dr Thomas Borer. Victor Ullmann’s Piano Concerto No 7 performed by Lala Isakova&nbsp
2015 Espace culturel Assens - DESSA Peinture / Musique / Identité
2015 Galerie Petra Lange, Berlin - DESSA - In the Darkness, the Light - in collaboration with the Mitte-Museum Berlin
2014 China Art - Beijing, represented by Galerie Steiner, Vienna
2013 Galerie Petra Lange, Berlin – "Do we smile or do we weep?" - Paintings based on the Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes. A Centenary Homage to Benjamin Britten, in collaboration with the music editors, Boosey & Hawkes.
-Shanghai Art Fair, represented by Galerie Steiner, Vienna
2011 Galerie Petra Lange, Berlin – Compositions» paintings and collages based on Unsuk Chin’s «ParaMetaString» and Detlev Glanert’s «Vergessenes Bild».
2010 Gallery JayKay, Carrouge – DESSA 2000 - 2010, retrospective exhibition. «Rythme et rouge» 10th Gallery Anniversary concert with simltaneous performance. Drums and percussion Allison Phillips (London), live painting DESSA, film Bernard Villat.
2006 Galerie Bremer, Berlin – «Land Escapes» - 60th Anniversary of Gallery Bremer
2005 Galerie Ollier, Fribourg – DESSA et Schwartz: La peinture rencontre la photographie
2004 Galerie Bremer, Berlin – collages and paintings «A Tribute to Kaufhaus N. Israel 1815-1939», presentation speech by Dr. Petra Lange, art historian,
-Galerie de la Source, Lausanne – a selection of collages and paintings
2001 «ArtVin, Château d’Allaman»
1999 Galerie de Couvaloup, Morges – paintings based on Erich Wolgang Korngold’s «Abschiedslieder»
Galerie Bremer, Berlin – paintings based on Erich Korngold’s «Abschiedslieder»
1998 Galerie Aulos Musica, Geneva – «A Legacy from Theresienstadt»
1997 Galerie Lilian Andrée, Basel – «A Legacy from Theresienstadt» - paintings from Viktor Ullmann’s Piano Sonata No 7
1995 Galerie Lilian Andrée, Basel – paintings based on Bela Bartok’s»Concerto for Orchestra» Galerie Tribeca, Milan – paintings based on Nino Rota’s «Concero per Archi»
Galerie de Couvaloup, Morges – paintings based on Leonard Bernstein’s «Age of Anxiety»
1994 Galerie Bremer, Berlin – paintings based on Leonard Bernstein’s «Age of Anxiety»
1993 Galerie West, Bern – paintings created in Hangzhou, China, from Chinese music for Er-Hu, a two stringed violin.
Expoart, Verona – paintings based on Nino Rota’s «Concerto per Archi»
1992 Galerie Lilian Andrée, Basel – paintings based on Olivier Messiaen’s «Turangalîla» Galerie de Couvaloup, Morges – paintings based on Ernest Bloch’s «Schelomo»
1991 Galerie West, Bern – paintings based on Gustav Mahler’s «The Song of the Earth»
1990 Galerie Chomel, Paris


Ausstellung im Estrée

Ausstellung in der Pyramide Berlin


1995 Leone d'Oro, Venice, Italy

Lectures and Workshops

2018 Podiumsdiskussion: Von schwarzen Löchern und blinden Flecken: Erinnerung als Kunst. Ein Gespräch zwischen der Künstlerin DESSA und der Biografiepädagogin Isabel Ursula Morgenstern moderiert von Alice Lanzke am 21.10.2018.
2016 International Womans Club of Lausanne. Art Appreciation Event: Audio visual presentation of « Do We Smile or Do We Weep?"
2016 Workshop with school children in Mitte Museum Berlin
2004 “A Tribute to Kaufhaus N. Israel”, Geneva
1999 “A Legacy from Theresienstadt” Holocaust Commemorative, Appalachian State University, North Carolina, USA (with slides and CD)
1998 “A Legacy from Theresienstadt” lecture with slides of the paintings and CD of Viktor Ullmann’s music given in Verona, Lausanne, Geneva, Pully and Montreux


2015 Open Day at UNOG on 24 October 2015: "Transoundart": Improvised conversation between paintbrushes with DESSA and pianist Michael Wiener
2013 DESSA is featured in the International Contemporary Artists Vol lV, published by ICA Publishing, New York. PDF
2011 Cooperation with Lala Isakova
2008 Painting “In the autumn of my life” - front cover of « Miraflores » poems by Leopoldo Chariarse, (Spanish & German) Rimbaud Verlag
2007 Kalenderfest, Ruksaldruck, Berlin
2006 Westfalen Jüdisches Museum – Kunst und Musik “A Legacy from Theresienastadt”
2004 Patricia Corbett Theater, Cincinnati – play reading by CCM with screen projections of paintings from “A Legacy from Theresienstadt”
2001 Wine bottle label “ArtVin 2000” for Société Vinicole Perroy
1994 Painting for front cover CD “Gloria Sepharadica” prod. S. Bernheim