Curated by Gabriela Rangel
On view from January 23 - March 24, 2013
Yishai Jusidman (b. Mexico City, 1963) finds in his new series, Prussian Blue, an alternative way to address the meeting of collective memory and aesthetics in order to deal with major concerns of both contemporary memorials and history-based artistic deliverances, as well as with some often overlooked sources that contemporary paintings may exploit. Responding to an ethical imperative inspired by the works of Primo Levi and Claude Lanzmann as a means to focus on issues of representation, memory, and trauma, Jusidman aims to render a truth that asserts his artistic investigation on the complexity of our contemporary visual experience: through a place where the materiality of the medium and the perception of the image collate in the meaning of the picture.
- Read a review of the exhibition from Israel's Haaretz.
- Watch a video from Voice of America about the exhibition (en español).
- See a slideshow with images from the exhibition.
The Prussian Blue series, developed between 2010 and 2012, is paired with efforts undertaken by painters such as Gerhard Richter, Luc Tuymans, Peter Doig, and Marlene Dumas, who previously worked with genocide images inflicted by trauma and collective memory in which photography mediated the production of history through appropriation. Within this lineage, Jusidman departed from photographs of the concentration camps that have circulated since the Nuremberg Trials. However, he eludes traces of conceptual and pictorial detachment by a constant insistence on the viewer’s active participation in order to fulfill an essential point to his art: “make silence speak.” Jusidman suggests an alternative narrative regarding the Shoah that does not intentionally teach nor moralize, but meditates on the experience of an individual concerning the remembrance of a collective trauma. This message can only exist in such well-formulated pictorial schemes that harmonize the interplay between what the artist calls the “pictorial plane” and the “plastic effect” of a painting. In so doing, the paintings’ materiality and the artist’s practice are explicitly advocated by the use of materials that signify the content itself and reinforce the works’ handcrafted condition.
The source for the fourteen paintings in the Prussian Blue series are photographs showing the architecture of gas chambers at various concentration camps used during World War II. Some were taken soon after the end of the war and others are more recent images of the camps now turned into public memorials. For the development of his pictures, Jusidman used exclusively three coloring materials that overlap the process of painting and the functioning method of the genocidal gas chambers. The first color is the same Prussian blue pigment (ferro cyanide) that unintentionally appeared on the walls of the gas chambers as a by-product of the Zyklon B gas. The artist not only replicates these colored stains in their actual materiality, but also marks his pictures’ settings as a whole in Prussian Blue. The second material is a silicon dioxide powder used for the pellets that delivered the gas to the sealed chambers, with which Jusidman creates the suggestion of a vaporous curtain by introducing it into his painting medium. As a third substance, he selected paints conventionally used for rendering skin tones (i.e. flesh tone, flesh tint, blush, etc.) to refer to the millions murdered within the architecture depicted in his work.
Image: Yishai Jusidman; Haus Der Kunst, 2011; from the series Prussian Blue. Image courtesy of the artist.
Yishai Jusidman: Prussian Blue, Memory After Representation is made possible by support from Mex-Am Cultural Foundation and the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.
The Winter 2013 Visual Arts Program is also supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Learn about events related to the Prussian Blue exhibition.
Slideshow: Prussian Blue – Memory After Representation: Yishai Jusidman
January 30, 2013
See photos from Mexican artist Yishai Jusidman's Winter 2013 exhibition at Americas Society....
January 24, 2013
El pintor mexicano Yishai Jusidman habla con VOA sobre su exposición Azul Prusia - La Memoria Después de la Representación: Yishai Jusidman en la galería de Americas Society hasta el 23 de marzo....