Moshe Gershuni (b. 1936), senior and excess baggage of Israeli
modern art, extraordinary personality, a world unto himself. A mole,
perhaps, of modern art, stretching the boundaries of its language
to stimulate its opposite.
Gershuni's artistic thought developed from a language crisis, from a
strong sense of the collapse of the great culture of Europe—to which
he is attached with bonds of love—in the formative event of the 20th
century. As a result, he developed a language that is the product of
distrust of language, of the interchange between the cultural and the
barbarian, between the sacred and the profane.
The 1980 Venice Biennale, at which Gershuni represented Israel, was
a turning point in his work, followed by a rush of paintings executed
squatting, smearing, with harsh and at times repulsive materiality,
flowering with fragments of prayer from his schoolboy days in a
religious school. His late discovery of his homosexuality, which
occurred at the same time and may have enabled the internalization of Jewishness, another outcast figure, intensified the "upside–down
world" and the encounter with the body as a source of pleasure and
pain, of memory, of fate.
The exhibition follows Gershuni from the political conceptual art of
the 1970s, through the turning point, his rebirth as a painter in the
1980s, to this day, and presents for the first time his bronze sculptures from recent years, and decorated food utensils that seem to belong to an interrupted festive meal. He calls them "Jewish ceramics."
Sophisticated, innovative and intelligent, his work is nevertheless also
of great simplicity: the link between a movement and the emotion that bore it, or the surprising choice of a star of David and a swastika as images in a painting. It may be viewed as a bold portrait of man as a whole—Ecce Homo—from the flames of youth to the body's decline: "the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak," litmus test of the human at its widest range.
Wednesday 10 November 2010
Saturday 26 February 2011
Sam and Ayala Zacks Pavilion
Sarah Breitberg-Semel | Catalogue