Romantic Landscape – Simplified
Ein Hod 4th Sculpture Biennale, 1977 | curator: Naomi Aviv | Humanism 2000?
Open-air installation | oil-tempera and oil-chalk on concrete casting platform and perpendicular wall.
Story: Manually printed block text. Gum stamp, oil-tempera on oil-tempera colored concrete casting platform.
Events and figures are fictitious
On the eve of the Referendum in Canada, October 1995, at the opening of the Israeli-Palestinian exhibition in Toronto, I met Roberto, Attaf and Martin. The three were looking at the joint work by David Rib and Arnon Ben David. They were big people, tall, very handsome. They discussed politics, and painting. I liked them right away. They looked alike somehow, bearing each a scar face; for sure they did not share the regular art crowd looks. Roberto, of Indian-Italian-Mexican origin, had spent most of his life in prisons, charged on heroine offenses, drinking, brawls and fights. Now he manages a painting class for children rehabilitating alcohol and drug, and he dreams of becoming a painter. Roberto likes Andy Warhol, and Caravaggio. Attaf, the Palestinian, had spent ten years in Israeli prison, jailed for terror activity. Done his sentence, he went to Canada where he completed his studies in bridge engineering. In his leisure time he paints, and he likes the fire paintings of Yves Klein. Martin, the son of a German woodcarver who had had immigrated to Canada from a small town to the east of Berlin, learned the craft from his father, and became an expert restorer of Baroque cabinets, gates, and stairway balustrades. He too dreams of becoming a painter, and in his workshop he showed us his favorite book, Tatlin. We soon befriended, and the four of us decided upon a trip to the Niagara Falls. We got there in the late afternoon, driving through a torrential rain which did not disperse the thick fog. Locked in the car, loosing any sense of time, we sat idle waiting for it to stop. For hours on end we sat there, talking. Then Attaf suggested that someone would tell a story, dodging the job instantly with the poor claim his English was not good enough. A while earlier we were haunted by his fluent stories from the Israeli jail. Now he preferred to be silent. Roberto, who had also told many prison stories, touched the scar on his cheek, and said I told my story. Martin raised his hands saying the good hands were his only talent, and now I was challenged. But what should I tell? I did not have the faintest idea what to tell and how to tell. Not only did I like these three guys, I wanted them. I wanted to make love to them, right there, in the car if possible. It was not possible. The stories told in the car throughout the drive were too hard. Four intensely moved people were sitting in it. There was no room for sex. I had to invent a story, or recall one, and quickly, but what I was able to think of in my state was limited, all enveloped by the details I have already introduced: America, the Middle East, Europe. Junkie, terrorist, carpenter. Three Canadians. Catholic, Muslim, Protestant. Instructor, Engineer, Carpenter. Three immigrants. Mexico, Palestine, Germany. Three painters. Three scars. Toronto – a knife fight. Beer-Sheba – tortures in prison. Crimitchau – an accident in the workshop. Black eyes. Brown eyes. Gray eyes. Warhol, Caravaggio, Klein, Tatlin. Winston. Marlboro. Gitane. Nobless. Ring, Ear-ring, Watch. Zipper. Buttons. Buttons. It all was not leading me anywhere. In my bag I had Atala/Rene by Chateaubriand, in Hebrew. I turned pages absentmindedly, feeling strongly the three pairs of eyes of men so handsome and strong resting on me. I closed the book empty of any thought. Then I said: Okay, in honor of the falls we shall not see, here's my story: The Mississippi, the biggest and the mightiest of the four rivers dividing the annexed regions France had grabbed in North America, from the Labrador to the Floridas, and from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the lakes of Upper Canada, flows its waters into a thousand other rivers. It rises after the winter, and from the stream sources it sweeps along entire forest plots uprooted by storms; huge trunks knotted together, clasped in a sticky mud paste, entwined and enwrapped in torn creepers grown into enormous lumps dug up with plants that have taken root in all their parts, formed thus into solid masses they flow down by the rising river, carried upon its turbid waves, swathed in a foaming swirling thicket, sweeping westward in the fierce torrent, stumbling on their way against floating colonies of pistia and yellow water lilies drifted from secondary streams into the main stream along with an entire fowls population nesting among layers of snakes and alligators, forward pushing on these flowering vessels towards forsaken docks on both sides of the river that spurts more and more new streams through colonnades of forest trees round Indian burial pyramids swallowed in the thick mist under surges of mud, alligators, fowls, snakes, and flowers, banging against corpses of oaks and pines overturning heavily on their side while they are carried further on in the main stream, thrown at the end of their journey onto the sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico, which ever newly continues to widen its estuary upon the forest remains.