Tal Broitman: Mirage

Tal Broitman: Mirage

Friday 10.1

In the past year, artist Tal Broitman has been focusing on large-scale ink drawings and paintings in gouache on paper. The choice of paper dictates the scale and the work technique due to the unique characteristic of the material. This choice also affects the nature of the image, which is interwoven with the material itself. Drawing is very present in the exhibition as an independent medium and not merely as a stage in the creation of paintings. Broitman has stated, “All of my paintings stem from drawing.”

The male figure who appeared in the body of the artist’s earlier works returns here in a renewed version. This enigmatic man, who has accompanied Broitman for years, is present in every work, and every exhibition revolves around him in a different way. This figure performs a simple act, behind which is concealed violence that depicts an inner and outer world on the verge of collapse within a landscape that is an atmospheric illusion immersed in intense stains of color. Broitman defines him as “a marginal figure who is attempting only to survive the everyday.”

The 2019 work Shooting Arrows depicts a male figure, in the center of the right side of the painting, shooting arrows in all directions. The figure is replicated over and over again, creating a sort of circle from which arrows are shot simultaneously, with everything hovering above a pink-hued stain. The roundness and softness of the pinkish stain intensify the circular motion of the arrows on the one hand and, on the other, contrast with their rigid lines. “The image is a metaphor for my approach to the creative process—a search for an image in an empty space and in relation to format and life in general—in search of aims and meaning,” Broitman explains, adding, “All the works are connected with my personal life and touch on my own experiences. From there they develop into images.” The arrow motif returns in the  ink drawing Untitled (2019), in which three arrows are seen crossing the sky from right to left, with a fourth stuck in the back of the seated figure (who is smoking and looking into space).

The spirit of the Romantic artist and poet William Blake (1757–1827) hovers over the works in the exhibition. Like Blake, Broitman creates a personal mythology. In the painting Centimeters from the Heart (2019) Blake’s influence is apparent in both form and content. On the right stands a male figure with some of its internal organs, including an enlarged heart, on the outside of its body. The figure stands in an Egyptian profile pose, gazing at the sky, which simultaneously depicts the round sun as the center of life, with strong, radiant rays, and stars full of light and a full, round moon. At first glance, the painting seems to represent a religious vision, with its linearity and emphasis on composition, its depiction of the sun’s rays spreading over the image, its use of color, the integration of mystical signs (which appear to be tattoos on his body), the wonder expressed at the stars, and more. The painting, like Blake’s works, is ambiguous, on the one hand portraying a cosmic, divine experience and, on the other, a very personal event experienced by Broitman.

“Broitman’s paintings are fresh and created with unrestrained virtuosic momentum. This is not polite and cultural or apologetic painting … but rather ripe and charismatic painting that passionately celebrates a cultural medium loaded with historical precedent and succeeds in infusing it with a new, bold vitality,” wrote the judges of the Osnat Moses Painting Prize for A Young Artist (Maya Attoun, Yitzhak Livne, Pesach Slabosky).

The exhibition is titled Mirage. This optical phenomenon, with its visions and illusions in which objects appear to be multiplied, is echoed in many of the paintings, for example in the multiple arrows, the rays of the sun, the Egyptian background figures, and more. Apart from the visual element, the multiplications create rhythm and movement, subjects that occupy Broitman in his work “How is it Possible to Create Movement in a Static Drawing?“. The color works, packed with images and scenes, never allow us to escape into a world of illusion or visions. In a wondrous and painful way, they bring us back to the impossible and layered reality of our time.

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Illustrations: Sarit Evrani

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