It would be difficult to affirm that the art that is created in Israel
should be considered “Israeli art” by definition. More accurately -and
what should be acknowledged - is that there is definitely art in Israel,
and much of it.
As a land overflowing with immigrants from every imaginable corner of
the planet, and with the population in general and the creative minds in
particular constantly absorbing from both the near and far - thirsty of
knowledge, eager to inhale the wafts of fresh air approaching from the
distance - current local artistic endeavors cannot remain narrowly
qualified as typical of the region. The prolific artistic development in
this country should be viewed through a wide lens that focuses mainly on
From solemn monochromes to pulsating color waves; from motionless hushed
representations to moving images to vibrating sounds; from abstract to
neorealism; from conceptual to lyric; from spiritual matters to
political issues; bouncing between personal and general, digging deep
down into the spirit or looking inside out; bringing up social concerns
or depicting facts related to nature or manmade infrastructures;
applying exquisite craftsmanship, using sophisticated technologies: yes,
the Israeli art scene has it all, as well as many, many artists. They
create side-by-side, mature with just-born, traditional with innovative.
Consciously or not, they were and are marking the country’s path all the
way through time.
It is a known fact that Israelis live in a complex reality. They are
driven to reflection and at the same time are urged to act fast.
Everyday life absorbs their energy in big sips. So Israelis react,
expressing what is just ready to burst out of their chests. Art is
there, impatiently waiting to be uncovered in many ways, trying to keep
up with the roller coaster of life, trying to keep away from getting
swept off from its natural course.
And for such small a country, there are so many artistic doings! Private
and public galleries, alternative spaces and museums, decorate the
country’s landscape. Festivals and special events are reproducing by the
minute. Group and solo exhibits; ongoing tours throughout the country’s
peripheries and one-time events; live performances; municipal, national,
and international events - almost everything goes.
However, in spite of all that enlightenment, and due to more than a few
reasons, artists are creating frequently on shaky grounds, at times
barely surviving their ongoing efforts for recognition; often working
with less than ideal conditions; investing valuable time in searching
for budgets to finish projects. There is still much to be enhanced, and
yet, artists keep on creating and procreating, doing what they are meant
to be doing.
In a way
it would be true to say that there are almost as many patterns of
expression as there are artists around. Nevertheless, there are some
up-to-date trends present in the local art landscape, mainly
sociopolitical, basically reflecting the contents of the heavy
weight-loads of information spread out by means of mass-media
communication, which are regularly pumping our lives with a plentitude
of reality facts. All this turmoil of data is inevitably influencing our
existences. But also these circumstances are evidently contributing to
the narrowing of the gap between the general public and the art that is
being produced. More viewers feel closer in understanding to what it is
all about. In a land of complexity and confusion to a certain degree,
art language is becoming more comprehensible.
Artistic bodies and minds are dispersing beyond national borders,
consistently and fast. The urge to know more and to show what they are
able to create is increasingly driving the artists to come near and get
acquainted with other artistic communities from distant lands. So it
should be asked if, as Israeli artists, we are indeed making our art
different - and more precisely, if we want to be recognized as distinct
- from the rest.
As part of a country that was born not so long ago, artists have indeed
matured. Since the faraway era in which much was tilting towards the
shaping of the nation and where artists depicted in their distinctive
creations both the native and the arriving alongside the land’s scenery
that engulfed them (reassuring the place that was meant to become
theirs), artists have arrived to a point of awareness about their
position within the global art scene - a concept that lies beneath the
term “globalization”, which become so popular in our vocabulary. And if
this is the natural and inevitable course we are destined to follow, the
art we are doing would in fact be Israeli only geographically, and I
don’t think this could lead to any ominous direction, but the other way
What would be essentially relevant as the outcome is that the art made
in Israel, as the art made anywhere else, ought to concentrate above all
on its refinement as a means of expression, aiming to gain and retain a
valued position not only in the geographic location where it is created,
but anyplace within the global sphere and, consequently, assuring that
it will be time- lasting and remembered.
©2004 Liliana Kadichevski, artist
Israel, December 2004