opening: June 14, 2019 At 12:00
  • מנשה קדישמן, חמורים, פסל ברזל
The current exhibition focuses on the theme of animals, as manifested, directly and indirectly, in the works of Israeli/ Land of Israel (before the establishment of the State) Artists.
Diverse aspects are revealed by the works, whereas affinity and love of Nature and all living creatures is shared by all.
“I see the horse as bonding the human, the earth, and Nature.” [1] —David Fine
“Occasionally, I found myself in the cowsheds [of Kibbutz Ein HaShofet], trapped by the rain […] It was the coziest and warmest of places in which a person might dwell. Sometimes, I nestled myself among the cows; I loved to watch the movement of their tails, tugging at their genitalia. I returned there later during the day to paint on bags of cement made of paper.” [2] —Avraham Ofek
The works can basically be divided into three groups, according to mental and emotional interest of the artists, their personal biography, and the themes appearing in their works:

Animals as object of research and observation of the immediate surroundings and
Israeli landscape
Ludwig Shverin is an artist who knows how to penetrate the very essence of the animal and how to portray it. He understands the innocence and gentleness of the donkey, its introverted and friendly nature, aloof in a corner, but stands its ground […] Shverin paints particular moments: of repose […] the animal is an integral part of its surroundings. [3]
For Audrey Bergner animal paintings have been a lifelong source of inspiration […], growing up with dogs and horses as a normal part of her environment. A keen observer of the unique ways in which animals fly, crawl, swarm or rest, Bergner created many series of paintings and drawings dedicated to animals. In the seclusion of her garden, she has painted directly from nature her visitors—cats, spiders, lizards, birds—go about their ways. [4]

Animals as local and universal symbols and myths
Spitz’s photographs attest to Danziger’s belief that the only option left for artists is to cling to the landscape and to traditions imbued with a sense of mystery which were—and still are—an integral part of every cultural environment in every “place.” [5]

[1] Gabi Ben Zano, ed., David Fine, Artists Book Series (Ra’ananna: College of Art Studies, 2003), 6. In Hebrew.
[2] Dorit Kedar, “In Memory of Avraham Ofek,” Muzot 8 (1991): 15. In Hebrew.
[3] Dorit Kedar, Al HaMishmar [The Guardian], 09.03.1987. In Hebrew.
[4] Yakir Segev, “The Captured Animal: Audrey Bergner’s Animal Prints,” in A Small Bestiary: Ten Linocuts by Audrey Bergner (Self publication, 2016).
[5] Mordechai Omer, “In the Wake of Itzhak Danziger’s Conceptual Works,” in Drora Spitz: Photographs, 1968–2009. Light-Space-Time, ed. and trans. Orna Yehudaioff (Self publication, 2010), 67.
Kadishman makes sculptures, paintings, drawings, and prints. Having worked as a shepherd in his youth, sheep have accompanied him—and us—to this day. In his paintings, the sheep is colorful, adorned, cheerful, and looks at the viewer defiantly and confidently. In the sculptures, however, it is the sacrificial lamb from the biblical story of the Sacrifice of Isaac as well as a contemporary victim of war. [1]

Animals as a Reflection of Philosophical Concepts
Animals were close to Rudi Lehman’s heart and he wished to capture their fleeting essence: “The animal must be sought out and discovered in distinctive instances,” he said to his student, Igael Tumarkin. Indeed, it seems that each of his statues not only captures the form of the animal, but its spirit as well—the nobility of the horse, the preparedness of the frog, the wisdom of the owl. [2]
The above three groups are not distinct and inter-relations with regard to content can be found among them.
In addition, the exhibition demonstrates the influence of teachers on their students and mutual influences among colleagues and various social circles.
The techniques are varied: painting, drawing, design layout, print, photography, sculpture, and more.
Irit Levin, Guest Curator
Translation: Tzach Ben Josef

[1] Meira Perry-Lehmann, “Menashe Kadishman: Interim Summary, 2012–2014,” in Menashe Kadishman: Valley of Sadness. Interim Summary, 2012–2014, trans. Einat Adi (Kfar Saba: City Gallery, 2014), unpaginated.
[2] Amitai Mendelsohn, quote from exhibition text, The Wood Menagerie, Ticho House, Jerusalem, 2010. In Hebrew.
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