Intricate Affinities: Recollections of Western Tradition in Local Contemporary Art

Curator: Smadar Sheffi 15.9.2016 - 24.12.2016

Yossi Mark's reading of the present is informed by his perusal of art history, particularly Italian Renaissance. In True Repose he depicts a woman whose posture is inspired by Caravaggio's 1606 Death of the Virgin. The painting was commissioned for Santa Maria della Scala in Rome, but was rejected as a desecration of the memory of the Virgin. The focus on the Virgin's death, rather than her ascension—in addition to rumors that Caravaggio used a sex worker as a model—was considered contemptuous. As in a photographic zoom in, Mark painted the upper body of a woman, possibly sleeping, perhaps dead, creating a dramatic viewpoint at a private moment. The dark-somber tones and the marks on the canvas produce a distant, ironic quality that prevents regarding the work as a mere tribute. Mark deconstructs the image. He scrutinizes the way it was made by using Renaissance-like painting techniques, and peruses the narrative told in the art of the past from the perspective of the present, but without the guise of myth, detachment, and defamiliarization.


Yossi Mark, True Repose, 2002, oil on canvas, 100x195, private collection