An exhibition by Israeli artist Nir hod, at the gallery Davide Gallo, Berlin.
Living in New York, this is the first European solo show for the Israeli artist Nir Hod.
Nir Hod is a missionary of beauty. Fame and loneliness, heroism, youth, glamour and death are served up in his work in heaping doses. The heroes and heroines in his paintings - most of whom are cast in his own image - play parts in a grandiose, imaginary melodrama that belongs to the realms of eternity, mythology and fairy tales. The world depicted in his paintings appears as if it truly belongs to the young. His beautiful, glorified heroes never sweat or emit body odors, nor will they ever grow old. Even in death, their beauty will remain pure, untouchable and untarnished.
The glamour parcel that Hod presents to the viewer in a saccharine-sweet, ostentatious cellophane wrapper reveals itself to be a capsule filled with emotion, passion and death, which challenges ideas about beauty in the era after modernism.
Tami Katz Frieman
The first impressions of Hod’s paintings are somehow mixed feelings.
They are large and hyper realistic. They have a very strong presence both in the space and on the viewer. 2 years ago I saw his works in a solo show he had at the Te Aviv Museum of Contemporary art, and I was able to immigrate into his world of youth, beauty, sex and death. A world I feel is very personal but yet very distant and somewhat political at the same time. He loves to play with every detail. This is a world crossed by exotic beauty and a great sense of death and sadness. Maybe the sexiness of death.
I find some of the better works are made of the artist himself dressed up as a woman Israeli soldier posing to the “camera” in a very certain way. This kind of flirtatious gazing into the space. The romance between the iconic soldier and the lady. Surely the back round will have the iconic Arab ready to leave for battle, but still they are all so young and fabulous. “Sinai” (oil on canvas 140x207cm 2007). The lady soldier lying with here beautiful breasts surrounded by the southern Egyptian mountains, proposing the death of the soldier or maybe the woman inside here own sexual fantasy. Maybe this is the viewer’s fantasy?
Another work I find very strong shows a “TV. Image” of a military funeral. Surrounded by flowers and the crying faces of the young girls with the red beret, the men seem to be playing a different more distant role.
The people attending the funeral seem to be almost transferred into flowers themselves.
In his later works he attempts to concentrate more on the feminine identity. Also the presence or absence of the female.
“Farewell Sofia” (oil on canvas 168x249cm 2006), shows a dog lying on her owners fur. The absence of the woman, standing for melancholy and separation.
The work I appreciate most (masturbation, oil on canvas 163x240 2006/7) offers again a woman proposing us a death scene or maybe the most pure and “romantic” orgasm.
I feel the artist has and still is creating a world that proposes a maybe different or more subconscious narrative we should all think about.
galerie davide gallo
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Ariel Reichman Lives and works in Berlin/Jerusalem. He was born in 1979.