A text by Oded Zaidel for Lena Zaidelīs exhibition: Almost Paradise , 2015, Agripas 12 Gallery, Jerusalem

Adam and Eve, 2014, acrylic and charcoal on paper, 105X280, Photo: Michael Amar

Within Reach / Oded Zaidel

Lena Zaidelīs series, "Almost Paradise," was conceived after the large exhibition, "Street Wolves," which was exhibited two years ago in the Artistīs House in Jerusalem, and expresses a spirit of the new. After over ten years during which she worked on wolves roaming the Jerusalem streets, there is a shift. The scenery in which the scenes that appear in the works take place are not Jerusalem landscapes and the heros are not wolves, but other animals and human beings.

Here too, the works are based on photographs. In this new series there is a combination of meticulous sketches and free flowing paint, and an attempt at different perspectives and three dimensional work: Almost Paradise echoes creation, the story of creation. There is humor in the choice of the title as well as in the works: on the one hand, freedom, joy, pomposity, and wild carnival figures, and on the other hand, the figures that appear in the work are ambiguous and are not specifically related to the traditional concept of "Paradise."

There is an encounter between life and non-life, between the breathing and the frozen, and boundaries are fluid and blurred. The series is based on photographs that depict pieces of landscape along the way from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea - the periphery of Israeli civilization. These are stands at which kitsch figurines are sold for garden decoration. On the one hand, there is regional cooperation - peace, business as usual - but on the other hand, it is all scenery.

A pastural corner, an oasis in the desert, grass beneath an umbrella, tables and chairs with cars in the background - peace and quiet - but a terrifying snake that winds along the entire painting disturbs the idyllic picture, while a sign anouncing an ATM machine reminds us of our mundane lives. A nude couple, not clear whether dead or alive, floats in the waters of a river or lake, while streams of water gush from their mouths and around them float jugs, flower pots, and garden decorations, and their hands almost touch each other - as in Michelangeloīs painting, "The Creation of Man", and as in the title of Gilead Sherīs book, "Within Reach": almost peace - almost Paradise.


Oded Zaidel



To the photos from the exhibition Almost Paradise - Click here




Lena Zaidel 2020

Barry Davis 2020

Bat-Sheva Dori-Carlier 2020



Rina Genussov 2019


Yossi Waxman 2018


Shosh Averbukh 2017

Gideon Ofrat 2017

Alejandera Okret 2017

Lena Zaidel 2007-16

S. Ish-Shalom Award 2016

Oded Zaidel 2015

Gideon Ofrat 2013

Albert Suisa 2013

Karine Levit 2013

Yonatan Amir 2012

Zeev Bar-Sella 2012

Shosh Averbukh 2008

Zeev Goldberg 2007

Monica Lavi 2006

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