PRUSSIAN BLUE Yishai Jusidman Curator: Cuauhtémoc Medina Starting from 24.3.21
There are colors whose historical implications overpower their formal and optical potential. One of them is Prussian blue. Discovered in 1704 in Berlin, it soon became the emblematic tint of the Prussian army and one of the earliest artificial pigments used by European painters. The color is also linked, unexpectedly, to the extermination of European Jewry in World War II: The pesticide employed in the Nazi gas chambers, Zyklon B, left colored traces on their walls when its lethal compound chemically mutated into Prussian blue residues, some of which are visible to this day.
Tensions between color and history, perception and materiality, picture and painting, are the subject of the series Yishai Jusidman has devoted to an extremely thorny problem: How may we, how should we visualize the Holocaust by way of Art? Painting allows the artist to plunge us into the labyrinth of historical memory while the imagery submitted by his brush recaptures both excruciating presences and silences.
For over three decades Jusidman has unfurled painting’s potential through a variety of resourceful explorations. He has engaged, for instance, multiple systems of perspective (The Astronomer [1987–90]), the intricacies of expression (en-treat-ment ), and pollinations between media and art (The Economist Shuffle [2006–9]). Prussian Blue (2010–16) is perhaps his most complex distillation of the quandaries of the painted image, challenging us, moreover, to face head-on the singular episode before which politics and ethics today draw shared boundaries. Thus in our present troubled times Prussian Blue prompts us to look steadily on while remaining weary of turning our backs on our past under the delusion that we can leave it behind.