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Me & You


Written by:- Yona Levy Grosman 


Notes and explanations about my work - Catalogue 1990

You and me, waves breaking on the shore
Imprints made by the winds upon the desert sands
Mountain and cliff textures, hundreds of millions of years old, 
Ripples of time. 
Nothing but the singular rhythms of an endless poem that 
Seems at times fleeting and at times everlasting. 
Romantic, Yes - Romanticism that tests reality. Mourning and 
adoring the ephemeral and craving the eternal. Romanticism without 
mysticism. Romanticism as texture, as rational expression. 
The ephemeral and the eternal 
The stillness and the ceaseless stream
Spiritual and material intertwined
Changing cycles 
Complex simplicity 
Whirlpool of endless poetry 
You and I exploit ? the singular rhythms. 
And all is one. 

Somehow, I feel that I would never have written these words if, at some stage in my life, I hadn't left the big city to live in the desert, first in the Sinai and later in the Negev. 
Philosophers throughout the ages have dealt with issues of eternity and infinity. I suppose that, had I remained in the city, I may have had to confront this conflict at some time or another. The desert, however, forced me to confront it, not intellectually, but from somewhere deep down inside. The obsessive intuitive feelings that needed release and neat intellectual explanation. Thoughts of Israel and Spinoza wove and guided my awareness of having to face the never-ending reality.

Just as the desert forced me to face this conflict, so it forced our forefathers thousands of years ago, while wandering through it, living their lives in this very place. Our ancestors, like ourselves, were awed by the plateaus and eroded canyons; by the biting forces of nature wearing away at the rock mass; by the cliffs and the craters; by the endless desert vistas; by the power of silence and the overwhelming presence of a place that dominates life. All of these always were and still are an essential part of man's existence in the desert. The place radiates, now as it did then, boundless force, and besides, forces upon man the self-awareness to face its powerful energy and endless vistas.

Today we still find, in both the Sinai and the Negev, the remains of cultures that located their burial grounds on mountaintops, thereby commemorating humankind?s consciousness, the meeting of one eternity with another.
The monotheistic religion of Israel also took shape in the desert. The philosophical messages of Judaism belong to a culture that grew from the awareness of this meeting of eternities. The desert shapes thought, touching and wallowing in the invasive void and soaring to the infinity of humankind who anticipates eternity while knowing that all is dust. This is a place that forces humans to understand that the only permanent thing in the universe, is the fact that everything keeps changing. Thought follows thought, the entire universe and consciousness are like a mighty river, always flowing and changing. ? consistently. 

Paradoxical essentiality that leaves its mark everywhere and at any time, on our relationships, yours and mine, transience and permanence, the transience of permanence and the permanence of transience, and loneliness versus the desire to belong and assimilate.

Life in the desert has had a crucial affect on me. My work is a process of searching, for ways to express these paradoxes. Creation that stems from a feeling for the earth, that is more typical of sculpture than of painting. Since I see myself as an artist tending towards Romanticism, I have been searching for a way to express this basic idea on canvas. 

In my article "Processes of Romantic Thought?, I wrote: " ... Romantic thought is not a static fortress into which no one enters and from which no one leaves. Romanticism is a dynamic thought process that metamorphizes with the influence of time and place, but yet retains the essence of existential thought of ephemeral humankind. The message of longing, of humankind's yearning for eternity, is woven through the work as a second thread. Romantics will always look for ways to express their impossible longing for fulfillment. From the same desire to merge with eternity, moments of prayer are frozen ? moments of eternity. ..." 

I have chosen to purify my Romantic works as best as I could, by eliminating the clinging characteristics from earlier periods that are not relevant to the basic essence of Romantic creations. The essence of Romantic creation is that it deals with the relationship between the human soul and the universe. Hence, not another romantic work drenched in myth, no longer controlled by the irrational and the transcendental. In my infinite Space, romantic thought does not lose its power even when it is examined by rational and analytical tools that are influenced by contemporary scientific thought. In my world, the infinite is no longer mystical, it has become real and the metaphysical is nothing more than the physics of complexity that humankind cannot reach.

I am aware of the expanding boundaries of reality that science has set before us. In other words, the realization of imagination. I am aware of the shattering of metaphysical and transcendental concepts - not because everything is known, understood or explained, but because of the acceptance that the unknown or the unexplained belong to the realm of nature, thus canceling the supernatural. And at the same time, coming to terms with the fact that humankind falls short of reaching natural eternity, despite the success in expanding reality,. 

The visions of infinity that I have tried to put on canvas carry the flaw of linear thought. This human limitation that, on one hand, restricts us in each new conflict with reality is, on the other, the only tool that we have for facing it. Limitations that leave us with what we have ? Reality.

Yona Levy-Grosman.

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