The imaginary Israel of Raphael Perez
Observing the works of Raphael Perez, we see a kind of journey to the near future of a place that is simultaneously familiar and imaginary. His works present a very colorful Israel composed of recognizable buildings and sites which he infuses with quotes from the history of Israeli painting, filling them with embodiments of fantasy and wonder.
Perez belongs to the tradition of naive art and is aware of its international and local predecessors. Within this tradition, he composes the picture of his unique world out of scenes that combine the everyday with the fantastic to create a kind of Technicolor Mediterranean idyll.
Unlike other naïve artists around the world, whose works mostly depict wild natural surroundings, he focuses his utopian journey to Israel as a defined, identifiable place where the natural and the urban compose a single entity. His meticulous repetition of form and rhythm disappearing into the high,distant horizon imbues his paintings with a clear directional movement, a kind of rational view from above that organizes not only what we can see
within the confines of the canvas, but also the rest of the world stretching beyond its borders. All of this enables the artist to create compositions crammed with details radiating optimism and hope, which one might call 'childlike’ in the best sense of the word.
Perez indeed began to paint in the naïve style following his
work with young children. During the years, in notebooks and diaries he drew and painted figures from childhood and this experience reinforced his love of color and the simplicity of the child’s expression: ״I worked for 15 years with young children. I managed afternoon care centers, boarding schools and many art clubs. My best teachers were, without a doubt, the 5-year-olds. They have a freedom that gets lost later on. At 5, language is very private, later they become critical and creativity is blocked.”
Perez creates a panorama of an orderly, clean and festive Israel in which the ״Israeli light” is evident in a style that moves into smooth, harmonious transitions of color. In the past year he has dedicated a series of paintings to the founders of Israeli art, which he defines as the basis for Israeli naïve art. Among these are Reuven Rubin, Nahum Guttman, Yochanan Simon, Moshe Castel and Israel Paldi. This exhibition contains three paintings from this series (tributes to Nahum Guttman, Yochanan Simonand & Reuven Rubin).
Raphael Perez was born in Jerusalem and studied at
the College of Visual Art in Beer Sheva. In 1995 he began working in Tel Aviv. His works have been exhibited at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and he has had solo exhibitions at
the Janco Dada Museum in EinHod and the Zaritsky Artists House in Tel Aviv. In addition to his own work, Perez is also coordinating a virtual project of LGBT art that aims to help artists from the community to gain international exposure.
Curator: Eran Litvin
Hebrew editing: Avshalom Suliman
The exhibition is located at the portico of East Ussishkin Hall
To arrange your arrival, please call: 026558558