Israel Arts Part III

By | December 22, 2021

“We were wrong because our paintings did not express the anxiety and tension of our life in this land. How can an artist, in a place that is the scene of a continuous struggle for existence, separate himself from the context? It is unbearable today to paint and to say: my painting is like a bird singing on a tree. We must express real life; I confess that I have not done so in the past “: this is how even the irreducible Y. Streichman ranks among the ” repentant ”, pioneer of New Horizons. If, therefore, during the Eighties, Expressionist painting is rekindled to take on an iconography with a political-social background, almost an update of the binomial accused by Group 10 +, the ancient and profoundly identifying theme of the earth persists, while always assuming new shapes and meanings. If it emerged from the fluid and luminous chromatic drafts of the abstractionists, if it was returned in fragments but with the distance of the photographic camera from the contaminated compositions of the Tel-Avivians, it is assumed during the sixties and seventies as the basic material of the work to load then, in the following decade, of strong political value. Few examples, in the comparison between two exhibitions held ten years apart. In Concepts + Information, hosted in 1971 in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, one year after the first and fundamental exhibition of conceptual art at the MOMA in New York, Israel Danziger exhibits Seeded canvas, part of the larger Rehabilitation of the Nasher Quarry project. A canvas hanging from cables is sprayed with a particular plastic emulsion that allows the growth of an artificial nature. Born in 1916 in Berlin, the artist has been since 1939, when he created the sculpture Nimrod, the animator of the “ Canaanite ” trend which, accused by Zionism of idolatry, searches for Jewish origins not in Palestine but in the ancient East to revive, filtered by artistic language, myths and rituals. Like A. Uri and A. Aroch for the generation of the Sixties and Seventies, Danziger then constituted a sure point of reference for young artists looking for a new identity. Still in Jerusalem, J. Neustein exhibits instead Jerusalem River Project, where 55 speakers spread the sound of flowing water into the arid valley of the Judah desert. On the theme of the excavation, in which the agricultural and defensive soul of Israeli society are recomposed, M. Ulmann (b. 1940) insists with minimalist and highly politicized works. In 1972 he excavated two identical trenches in the Metzer kibbutz and in the Arab village Messer: the exchange of land between the two places ritualized the burning problem of dialogue. Even more evocative is the work of H. Mehutan surrounding the trenches with sandbags.¬†For Israel 1998, please check

After spending ten years in London, M. Kadismah returned to Israel in 1972 and started the Forests series. After the first, consisting of metal plates hanging from trees, he exhibited in 1975 in Jerusalem The canvas forest, a forest of hanging sheets in which silhouettes of trees are cut out. A convinced kibbutzist, invited to the Venice Biennale in 1978, he leads a herd of sheep marked in blue; he takes up that theme later and to this day, painting it obsessively.

The exhibition curated by A. Barzel in 1980 in Tel Hai, organized by the 27 kibbutzim of the area with the participation of 42 artists, invites you to create an original work with and in the landscape. If D. Meiri erects basalt domes around olive trunks, B. Arowetti installs a pink curtain on a neon structure of the same color. If Dov Or Ner buries a bottle with Israeli blood mixed with Arab blood in a deep hole, T. Bauman prints newspaper clippings with news of armed clashes on the walls of a shelter. Among the numerous appearances, those of P. Coen Gan and Z. Goldstein stand out. Born in Morocco, Cohen Gan is particularly sensitive to integration problems and fights for that of the Palestinians. Set up a tent in a refugee camp near Jericho, idea the Dead Sea Project where the combination of fresh water and salt water symbolizes the one between life and death. Z. Goldstein, born in 1947 in Romania and lived for a long time in Milan, hangs a poster reading IrrationalismA Crisis New Ideology in a Tel Hai refuge. Attentive today to the constructivist language, he creates three-dimensional objects with an industrial style, projecting their two-dimensional image on the wall with written.

On the threshold of the nineties, the artistic panorama therefore seems to be defined as follows: alongside artists whose path is characterized by a coherent continuity, albeit lavish with creative shots, as in the case of N. Tevet, M. Gitlin, Y. Dorchin and others, s ‘imposes a shift in figurative language in an expressionist direction, the most appropriate to express the urgency of issues on whose resolution the identity and future of Israeli democracy are at stake today. Yet despite this polarization, the Perspective, hosted since March 1991 in the Rubinstein pavilion of the Tel Aviv museum, promises a radical change of course. Nine artists invited, from various generations, from the oldest R. Kadim to the very young D. Almog (b. 1959). In the pseudo-scientific ink traces on Plexiglas plates by N. Ziv, in the crystalline, astral and feminine images distributed on layered supports by D. Almog, in the painted images that stretch out in the hollows of the massive three-dimensional wooden supports by O. Romberg, as well as in the frozen and kitsch contaminations by M. Pichadze, curator D. Manor recognizes the stylistic features of the post-modern language: “This art seeks harmony, order and regularity through geometric shapes, ideal proportions, the use of scientific and architectural models. An art that realizes international aspirations. of Israeli art “. While it is certainly desirable for it to free itself from the mortgage of content and forms that are too often derived, this cannot and must not take place at the expense of those principles of dynamism, restlessness and contamination which constitute the essence of an authentically Jewish art.

Israel Arts Part III