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THE 'U' IN GUSTAVE
text of the Installation at the Mishkan, Museum of Art Ein Harod. 1994
hand-printed in oil-tempera with rubber stamps;
10 units, dimensions: 5 units – 290x293 cm, 5 units – 370x295 cm
When I worked on my Los Angeles wall-painting, I was bothered with the thought that my wall will be whitewashed at the end of the show, and that only photographs will remain. If there were only photographs to remain, then at least I should be photographed as well, so I felt, and the more the better: before work, at breaks, in front of the building, near the painting, far from the painting, very far from the painting, all my body against the painting. One morning before driving to the gallery, I shut myself in the toilet and took my own photographs, naked, in front of the big mirror. A whole film. A strong morning light came through the rhombus shaped network mounted on the window's six squares frame. The dark green tapestry on the wall, the heavy wooden door, the green marble, all my body, were segmented into stripes, triangles and rhombuses. I colored my face with bright colors, then, after a thought, buried them between my raised arms, and took the photos wondering during the while what was the approximate running distance designed for the suspense button in the camera. Were it for instance a picnic... and I would have wanted to join the others...
The corner of the box on which stands the chair on which Gustave Courbet is sitting, is turned towards me. The box has a handle. Two youngsters, the house keeper, a bearded friend, and Courbet himself move it together when he finishes painting one area and needs to start another one. When he needs help, Gustave Courbet turns his head slightly to the left, away from the canvas on which he works, and then, erected, precisely facing me, are his pipe together with the palette in his hand. So does the brush OK in his other hand, slightly it turns and points at me. The hat casts a shadow on his eyes so that they can not be seen. The upper one of his lips is shadowed under his nose, closes firmly upon the pipe, the lower one disappears in his beard, so that also his mouth is hardly seen. His left thumb and his entire left sleeve are stained, and swelled up by color lumps so that they can not be told from the palette, which, along with the thumb turned towards me, forms one extended deformed arm. The brush in his other hand is held between thumb and finger, like a knife, and it points at me. When Courbet needs help, also his knee, in the coarse rough cloth of his trouser leg, along with the toe of his heavy boot, with its heavy heel, stuck between the leg of the chair and the box upon which it stands, slightly turn towards me, together with the palette, the brush, and the pipe. And then all changes, that much all changes that it would be very hard for me to describe it, do it in proper brevity, and without bursting into tears. But his other leg, as he is turning to ask to be helped with the box, remains solid, as if forever, stuck between the front leg, the right one, the straight one of the chair, and its rear leg which is carved like a column of Brancusi.
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