Mysticism enhances Israel's pop art

Mysticism enhances Israel's pop art

A burst of vibrant colours spills across the walls that adorn artworks defining ‘Israeli Pop Art’.

The genre might be new to the art lovers in the city but the artworks by six Israeli modern artists aren’t totally unfamiliar since a regular at the exhibitions can spot a David Gerstein artwork from far.

Occupying a major display area, Gerstein’s layered imagery of still-life compositions become the subject of discussion within no time.

Undoubtedly his technique, to capture moments of motion, such as a scene from a ‘Disco’ and a group of people ‘Biking’ in three or two layers, is quite appealing. But there is much more to this exhibition than just Gerstein.

For instance, the work titled ‘India’ by Calman Shemi makes for a wonderful sight due to the shiny golden sky painted with car paint over aluminium by the artist. The experimentation with mediums is something to look out for in the works of Shemi.

Her wall sculpture, titled ‘Mediterranean’, is reminiscent of the ancient techniques used to create art in Japan and China. With just the outlines of a female figure carved in metal expressing the entire imagery, this is a masterpiece.

While Dganit Blechner’s works appear like paintings created over photo montages, Yaacov Agam’s depiction of ideas of life is three dimensional. Blechner uses a variety of techniques and incorporates images of icons from the entertainment industry in her world of art to express her perspective of the urban life.

Her work titled ‘Marlyn Butterfly Blue’ provides a feminine view of the glamorous life of the stars through use of lustrous green and blue hues. Agam’s kinetic art, on the contrary, defines a similar concept but in abstract form.

Thus the movement in the several images hidden in one is baffling at times.

Among these the painting on sculptures of Picasso and Chaplin by Yuval Mahler stand out due to their potential to attract the child within adults, especially the small sculpture of Chaplin, like a 3D caricature with a big face and relatively small body, induces laughter (just like the performing artist did).

What mystifies the viewer though is Raphael Abecassis’ work. As one reads the phrase printed inside his painting, a sense of mysticism creeps inside the imagination.

This is because of a dominant presence of themes from Jewish mysticism. To achieve a vivid effect, the artist brings into use the technique of Decoupage – transforms a conventional painting into a three-dimensional creation by lifting layers.

In one of the untitled work, Abecassis lets the proverb on ‘Woman of Valor’ (from Book of Psalms), remain in the top layer while painting a scene in the lower layer – as a reference to the world on the Day of Sabbath.

Amidst other artworks which define the take of artists on modern-day art in Israel, Abecassis’ work takes one back to the old style of storytelling through paintings. This establishes that even in the pop art, an element of traditionalism is
still alive.

The exhibition by Bruno Art Group is on display at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre till November 23.

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