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Moshe was sent to the religious Bilu School and then continued his studies in a religious high school. Gershuni described in a late interview the presence of the Holocaust in his childhood: And, like many others, I remember the years after the war […] I remember that I read everything I could on the subject, there were already personal accounts of it on the radio, in private conversations, from the relatives who arrived.
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The painter Leon Fouturian and the sculptor Uri Shoshany, both residents of Herzliya, influenced him. From to he studied sculpture in night courses at Avni Institute of Art and Design, after days spent working in the orchards. His first solo exhibition was mounted in in the Israel Museum. On the walls of the Museum were hung yellowish green abstract paintings in a geometric style, and throughout the space of the exhibition itself were strewn objects made of soft materials influenced by the sculptor Claes Oldenburg.
In addition, this type of art emphasized the ontological dimension of artistic works. Instead of objectives with a commercial aesthetic, this genre adopted a freer relationship with minimalist values and emphasized the exposure of the process of the artist at work.
The use of this material constituted a continuation of his preoccupation with soft materials, but Gershuni introduced new characteristics which had been absent in his work before. The work documented, in effect, an activity in which margarine cubes melted into the paper, while emphasizing the sensual aspect of the material.
A reinforcement of this tendency can be seen in two videos Gershuni prepared for a television show created by Jacques Katmor for Israeli Television. He is photographed dressed in an Israeli army uniform, crawling over a dune in two opposing directions that are combined with one another.
In this way, a kind of sign, in the form of an X was formed. This activity was described in retrospect by Ilana Tannenbaum as an act of ars poetica , which voids and cancels out the action it performs, at the same time as it makes an ironic statement about the Israeli military. In the group of works that Gershuni created during the first half of the decade, content that diverged from questions of the characteristics of pure artistic representation began to appear.
At the same time, Gershuni preserved the characteristics of form within conceptual art, that is, its arrangement in series, the use of text, and the reflexive dimension of the works.
Among the new characteristics that appeared in his works was a whole series of clearly biographical references, both to the artist and to his family.
He made aliyah to the Land of Israel in In the photographs of his legs, Gershuni continues with an examination of the relationship by exposing the toes of his feet through yellow paper. That was during the time when he hung the wheat in the Museum, all that experimental direction that was exactly in the spirit of what we were looking for. The group made sure they had regular meetings with Danziger in Haifa and Tel Aviv and participated in tours he organized.
Among the group of projects the group carried out, called the " Metzer-Messer Project " , Gershuni took photographs of the landscapes of Kibbutz Metzer , called "a meeting of the kibbutz members", and "gave away" the kibbutz lands to these members.
His colleague, the artist Micha Ullman, carried out an exchange of land between the Arab village of Messer and the neighboring kibbutz, and Geva organized books that were sent to recycling to Amnir Recycling Industries and set up an improvised libraries, among other things.
The social dimension of these activities emphasized the work methods of art as an element in social progress. In the catalog, Gershuni gave an explanation of the work that dealt both with internal politics and his own personal feelings: The song has emotional significance for me.
The melody has Eastern motifs. I sing it the way I remember Ilka Raveh singing it in a night club in Jaffa , and he sang the way they once used to sing, during the time of enthusiasm for things Eastern, when they were still trying to be influenced by the East.
The works exhibited a number of artistic influences by citing the names of artists such as the Italian sculptor Medardo Rosso , the Israeli painter Aviva Uri , etc. A group of his works included imagery taken from iconic art works. In an untitled work Gershuni stained a portrait of the Pope in red. In addition Gershuni added many-legged graphic symbols that were reminiscent of swastikas.
This symbol appears several times, including on the groin of the Pope. And the world that surrounds the man becomes a woman adorned, an object of lust, perhaps of forbidden passion. Gershuni imposed red markings on them and a hand-written caption with the name of the work. Gallery in Tel Aviv. In this exhibition large letters were written on the walls of the gallery in pastel chalks and lit up with strong, hot lighting.
The installation included white porcelain plates stained with red paint. In this year Gershuni carried out an activity involving the sealing of the cracks in the space of the pavilion with red paint and then added objects connected to his own biography. However, a quote from Gershuni explains it as a cry against the injustice of the world: Furthermore, they abandoned the minimalist character of his works up until this time.
At the end of this decade Gershuni went through a depression and a deep identity crisis. It was during this period that Gershuni also came to terms with his homosexuality.
Gershuni received encouragement for the continuation of his creative life within the framework of psychological therapy he was receiving during this period. In his first works from this period paint stains appeared in red or glittering purple, with blurry outlines, produced with glass paints on glossy paper.
After the first works, this series of works shows a growing sophistication of graphic composition. Until , his paintings included more identifiable images, with a specific iconography. Other images are flags, mainly in yellow and green, and bonfires with smoking torches.
The iconography of this image is connected to The Sacrifice of Isaac and the ritual sacrifice it symbolizes. These paintings were done by spreading on paint with his fingers while lying on the floor next to the canvas. In many of the paintings there began to appear quotes from Israeli songs and poetic verses from the Bible, which Gershuni indicated he had sung while painting these works. In December , in the third number of the journal Kav, an article by Sarah Breitberg-Semel was published.
I am Israeli because I am a Jew. Otherwise I have no particular reason to be here. No Father No Mother" exhibition at the Neue Nationalgalerie , Berlin, Germany In Gershuni began a series of paintings that included images of the flower cyclamen. The cyclamen, according to Gershuni, represents a national motif and often appears in Hebrew poems for children.
In the cyclamen can be discerned as a clear image, but the range of colors becomes darker. The series is composed of 18 paintings, each of which is spread over 2 sheets of paper held together by tape, making them X cm total in size. As a combination of voluptuousness and a reference to national mourning.
In addition to the text, the drawings display eschatological elements which were characteristic of Gershuni during this period, such as pentagrams, question marks, etc.
At the end of the s Gershuni began once again to create works that used old porcelain ware. Gershuni juxtaposed them to graphic images such as stars or Magen Davids Stars of David , swastikas, and fingerprints.
Alongside wreaths with abundant petals were also wreaths that were nearly bare. The book was displayed in in the Jewish Center in the New Synagogue, Berlin, and in in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, in exhibition cases that looked like the benches in a synagogue.
On November 26, , in a gallery used for artists workshops in Tel Aviv, a joint exhibition of works by Gershuni and the photographer Shosh Kormush. In the works he displayed in this exhibition Gershuni returned to the motif of wreaths, but this time he created them using a technique of obliterating the color from the surface of the painting by scratching it off with his fingernails.
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I also have in my head a picture of a moving train, and from between the slats a pair of dark eyes of a little girl or little boy peeps out. The empty eyes followed me around long before I painted them, following an exhibition of Roman busts in the Louisiana Museum years ago…it was specifically the holes, the lack of eyes, that created an opening to the black emptiness within the sculpture, that pointed out that the sculpted, molded face was a thin, empty shell.
In an interview just before the drawings went on display in a exhibition in the Museum of Art Mishkan LeOmanut Ein Harod named after Chaim Atar, Gershuni explained the title of the drawings and their significance: Ein Harod is the eye of the fear, the eye of the storm.
It seems to me that this series was created from within the greatest loneliness, or the loneliest journey, that I have ever made. The drawings, which are saturated with an atmosphere of transcendentalism , are done on canvas that Gershuni treats with different drawing materials in order to bring out the physical structure of the canvas. The photographs included intimate scenes of the couple in their bathroom, reflected in the mirror. This exhibition also included photographs from the series that Kaniel had created.
Pineiro immigrated to Israel and began living with Gershuni in Tel Aviv. In addition, Gershuni rented a new, large studio in Southern Tel Aviv. During the first half of the decade, a number of exhibitions that recycled earlier works of Gershuni were held. It was curated by Benno Kalev , a collector who bought many of the works that appeared in this exhibition. After the decision was published by the Israeli Ministry of Education , Gershuni announced that he refused to shake the hand of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or Minister of Education Limor Livnat , and that he did not intend to take part in the Israel Prize awards ceremony.
This is not the time for ceremonies and parties.
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In a later interview Gershuni referred to this incident and claimed that his refusal to participate in the ceremony was a result of his artistic reaction. My art is more important to me than my life. It was a symbolic refusal, an expression of opposition to all the policies of this country. In this exhibition Gershuni returned to the image of wreaths. He used watercolors and acrylic paint in shades of blue.
Ofrat described the use of the old motif of the wreaths not only as a symbol of victory and of mourning, but also as an expression of sexuality, of the desire to mate, and of Eros , all of which symbolize the attempt to reach transcendental union. On June 24, an exhibition opened at the Givon Art Gallery in which Gershuni displayed a series of paintings on fabric, done in the technique of Impasto [paint applied thickly] using oil paints and thickening gel, with a spray dripping water on the damp gel layer.
In the exhibition that he mounted at the Givon Art Gallery, Gershuni even directed groups of lights on the paintings in a way that created different focuses of light on the surfaces of the paintings.
At the same time Gershuni began to create a series of medium-sized bronze sculptures. These sculptures were produced using bronze casting methods from different sculptures, probably figurative, made by amateur sculptors.
In spite of the effects of the disease, Gershuni continued with his artistic output. The exhibition displayed a large series of papers, both small and medium in size, with images of light blue patches of color. Another exhibition of his works from the s onward opened in November at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Germany.
Gershuni died on 22 January in Tel Aviv at the age of The combination of biographical characteristics, homosexual sexual expression, and aggressive expressionism, have comprised his most noticeable examples of anti-modernism beginning in the s. In the s Gershuni created minimalist art, in touch with American influences.
However his work, along with the strictly formal side, was concerned with the physical aspect of artistic materials. In his work of these years there is a feeling of his squeezing in under the modernist grid while emphasizing self-examination and physical examination at the same time that he is adapting new artistic techniques, such as installation art, performance art, and environmental works.