Art from Israel:
Here, There, Everywhere

by Liliana Kadichevski
  Liliana Kadichevski   I   artist
  work 1   work 2   work 3  

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 its variety.

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 around.

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