A text by Zeev Goldberg for Lena Zaidel´s exhibition: All the Places are Holly 2, 2007
Paz Talpiot, 2006, dry pastel and industrial gold paint on paper, 108X230, Photo: Michael Amar
I was fortunate to witness the birth of Lena´s "Wolves" series, as well as its subsequent development, observing the artist and her work growing simultaneously. This experience etched paths to a profundity that I did not know existed.
In the first series of wolves, not currently displayed, the artist addresses the role of the wolf vis-à-vis the space, as well as the emotional interaction between these two elements. The second series is much more rational; the European wolf immigrates to Israel, thus colliding not with empty space but with contemporary Israel. Positioning the wolf in opposition to holy sites and/or mundane images of our lives creates a fascinating encounter. Thus, every painting unfolds to reveal a story, or rather an episode in the broad saga of the series "All the Places Are Holy". In this series, viewers will discover a personal story, a family history or the history of Israel.
I must admit that I didn´t like what I saw in the two last paintings of the series. The series began by presenting the wolf as a powerful, romantic and mysterious figure, but towards the end changed it, rendering it flat, corrupt and mundane. However, these feelings do not detract from the artist´s talent, quite the contrary. The vivacity of this sensation reminds me of her fellow countryman, Dostoyevsky, to a certain degree, whose characters evoke loathing and admiration, simultaneously. This series embodies each and every person´s story, the path from an idealistic and energetic youth to maturity, the way our daily reality wears us out. It portrays the story of the Russian immigrants and their assimilation in our country´s landscape, or rather that of the Zionist movement, idealistic and energetic, ending with privatizing every value previously believed to be holy.
This series presents the viewer with sites many of us will not enjoy, yet I believe that this series will attain a prestigious position as part of Israeli culture´s inalienable assets.
Zeev Goldberg, 2007
Lena Zaidel, 2023
New website: https://lenazaidel.com
Measurements are given in centimeters, height ª width
All the reproduction photos of Lena Zaidel's artworks in this website,
are taken by Michael Amar, unless otherwise noted.