Moshe Gershuni (b. 1936), senior and excess baggage of Israeli modern art, extraordinary personality, a world unto himself. A mole perhaps, of modern art, stretching the boundaries of its language to stimulate its opposite.
Gershuni's artistic thought developed from a language crisis, from a strong sense of the collapse of the great culture of Europe to which he is attached with bonds of love in the formative event of the 20th century. As a result, he developed a language that is the product of distrust of language, of the interchange between the cultural and the barbarian, between the sacred and the profane.
The 1980 Venice Biennale, at which Gershuni represented Israel, was a turning point in his work, followed by a rush of paintings executed squatting, smearing, with harsh and at times repulsive materiality, flowering with fragments of prayer from his schoolboy days in a religious school. His late discovery of his homosexuality, which occurred at the same time and may have enabled the internalization of Jewishness, another outcast figure, intensified the "upside-down world" and the encounter with the body as a source of pleasure and pain, of memory, of fate.
The exhibition, held at Tel Aviv Museum of Art
, follows Gershuni from the political conceptual art of the 1970's, through the turning point, his rebirth as a painter in the 1980's, to this day, and presents for the first time his bronze sculptures from recent years, and decorated food utensils that seem to belong to an interrupted festive meal. He calls them "Jewish ceramics."
Sophisticated, innovative and intelligent, his work is nevertheless also of great simplicity: the link between a movement and the motion that bore it, or the surprising choice of a star of David and a swastika as images in a painting. It may be viewed as a bold portrait of man as a whole Ecce Homo from the flames of youth to the body's decline: "the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak," litmus test of the human at its widest range.