Inspired by Seffi Rachlevsky’s 1998 controversial best-seller, The Messiah’s Donkey (in Hebrew). The book investigates the new creed of Messianic Judaism in Israel, which views the secular Jew as a donkey. To them, the donkey serves as nothing more than the messiah’s vehicle; ride him, then discard him.
In Patkin’s glass sculpture, the bodies of an ark of covenance and a donkey are merged together, and a crowned donkey head takes the place of the Torah.
anodized cast aluminum, life size
92 x 75 x 40” (edition 5) Public Collections: Guggenheim Museum, NY Ringling Museum, Florida
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California
Don Quixote 'reading' The Adventures of Don Quixote Part II, while looking in a mirror. (catalog)
Miguel de Cervantes’ volume one of Don Quixote was published in 1605. After its success, a man by the name of Alonzo Fernández de Avellaneda decided to cash in on Cervantes' success and write a Volume Two. In Cervantes’ 1615 part II, Sancho tells Don Quixote: “ . . . he told me that your worship’s story is already in print under the title of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha. He says that I’m mentioned too under my own name of Sancho Panza, and so is the lady Dulcinea del Toboso, and so are other matters which happened to us in private. It made me cross myself in wonder, to think how the story-writer could have learnt all that.”
It may be the nature of our time that those who reveal what we would rather not acknowledge are ignored or worse, expelled. This may seem clearly true in the world of politics and social relations, yet is equally true in art, though the exclusion may be less obvious. The art world, after all, is composed of unarmed camps that manage contest by making invisible all that they feel the need to deny.
Izhar Patkin is an artist who has faced up to the test of critical expulsion, and has survived his time in the wilderness quite well, thank you. Full Story and other miscellaneous texts
Collection; Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres This series started in 1998 with portraits of seated women holding empty blankets. The paintings are done in oil on aluminum wire mesh 68" x 44" each.
A porcelain sculpture of this narrative is now being produced at the legendary Sevres porcelain factory in Paris
Judenporzellan 1998-02 enamel on chrome coat paper, sizes variable Collections; Jewish museums, NYC and Berlin -
Open Museum, Tefen, Israel
Large-scale collages in a technique that involves cutting, folding and weaving stenciled paper. “Judenporzellan” is based on the story of an 18th century law, which forced Berlin’s Jewry, the Mendelssohn family among them, to buy inferior and overpriced porcelain from the king’s failing factory. (catalog)
I had the opportunity to watch Izhar Patkin paint his Black Paintings, in a big, filthy, unheated room on Broome Street. I used to visit this studio almost daily while the work was in process. I rarely stayed very long, but the painting changed each day, and I didn’t want to miss a thing. And the painting wasn’t the only thing that changed. Graham Greene once said that the difference between writing a short story and writing a novel is that the person who finished a novel is not the same person who started it.Full Story
HM: One of the surprise entertainments of The Black Paintings you showed last spring (at the Limbo Gallery, New York City) was to watch the reaction of the viewer. It was though you took them by the hand over the threshold into the idea of narrative in contemporary art - it was done on such a big scale and with such an explicit literary connection to Genet’s play that they couldn’t miss it - but once they were inside there seemed to be a language problem. it was like watching a group of travelers entering a foreign country and trying to order a meal. There was food all over the place but no Berlitz handbook . . . Full Story