Nahum Gutman Museum of Art - English מוזיאון נחום גוטמן לאמנות Image Map

If there are eyes - there is painting

22.11.13 - 15.2.13

כותרת

לינק

לינק

 

כותרת

לינק

לינק

Aquarelles by Zaritsky from the Gordon Gallery collection.

 

Joseph Zaritsky was born in 1891 in a Jewish town in Ukraine, studied in the Kiev Art Academy for four years, served as an officer in the Russian army, and witnessed the great revolutions in 20th century art in Kiev and Moscow.

In 1923, at the age of thirty two, Zaritsky came to Israel and began touring and painting it in aquarelle, a medium that would accompany him along his artistic path. This is an immediate medium, easy to carry around, available in times of need, and of all the mediums of painting most resembles blood. Anyone who paints is familiar with this sensation; the paint cube is wetted with water, a bloody textured liquid pools on it, and it transforms from a dry, calcic pigment to a moist, organic substance, woken from a dry, shriveled sleep. In this context, it is fascinating to ponder his comment in the architecture magazine "Tvai" in 1966: "Do you know what makes a painting Israeli? Jewish temperament. The Jewish emotional power". A cryptic remark, seeing as Zaritsky aspired to be a citizen of the world, not a native of the Jewish town in Ukraine, but even so. The aquarelle is easy to convert to Judaism-abstract, almost immaterial, assimilates into any environment, universal. In fact a sort of colorful ink. And ink is an ancient Jewish substance.

 

Zaritsky named his paintings after places and landmarks: Safed, Haifa, Flowers on the Windowsill, Zichron Yaakov, Jerusalem, The Painter on the Roof, Nachlat Shiv'a, A View of the Jaffa Gate, Paris, Mother and Daughter, Tel Aviv From Rooftop, Tzuba, Yechiam, The Painter in  the Scenery, Na'an. Painting by painting, a web of coordinates is spun and spread, creating a map both public and private.

 

For Zaritsky, painting is always connected to the eyes. "If there are eyes-there is  painting" he said, a sentence that can mean a number of things: since everyone has eyes, it is not something too serious, on the other hand, one must know how to use them. For Zaritsky the artistic creation is a language with a beginning, middle and end, a syntax whose parts and rules must be learned: line, stain, clarity, light and shadow, flat, deep, hand-eye, rinse, internal essence, impression, structure, matter, shallow depth, abstraction. "If there are eyes-there is  painting" is a peculiar expression from someone who seemingly blatantly ignored revolutionary painting trends in Russia and later in Israel. His choice was to make art as clean of ideology as possible, apart from the ideology of painting itself. It was from this ideological standpoint that he boundlessly ruled the Israeli art scene, despised everything he found here on arrival, and did as best he could to assimilate the values of "correct" painting among his students and admirers.

 

Joseph Zaritsky and Nahum Gutman were quite hostile towards one another, and the hosting circumstances are impossible to ignore. They both painted Tel Aviv, they both were considered the city's painters. Gutman accompanied it from the bottom up, from the moment of its birth, knew the city and its founders. Zaritsky climbed on the roof to catch a panoramic view of it with no people. "I don't trust abstract painters…abstract gives the creator an advantage and a feeling of superiority over others which is immoral in my opinion", Gutman stated in an interview to Sarah Breitberg in 1972. "The painters I found here, which were known as the city's painters, painted camels on sands…oriental folklore…" Zaritsky retorted in 1984, one year prior to his death, in an interview to Rama and Haim Luski. Adam Baruch eventually attempted to make peace between the two: "Gutman and Zaritsky both are the city's painters…different types of authenticity create a single picture of time and space". As the years pass, it seems that he was right.

 

The exhibit presents Zaritsky's aquarelles created between 1918 and the 1980's and they truly reflect the best of his works as collected and kept in the Gordon Gallery.

 

Monica Lavi

Curator 

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