The social and the political, the spiritual, emotional and mystical – all unite in the work of Harel Kedem, which addresses the thematics of environmental phenomena. For example, his “Drought Series”, which focused on the Sea of Galilee (1994), or the current “Ayalon River Series”. The metaphoric significance and internal dialog layered with the onset of scourge that inseparably combines the actions of nature and of man, are highlighted alongside the concrete context of these works.
In the greater context, the works of Harel Kedem reverberate with a personal biography of immigration and displacement. Places like Dachau and Auschwitz have a close and tangible familial context that concern core relationships, which cast a shadow on the perspective of daily experiences. At the depth of his work lies a childhood experience that combines the religious and the secular, the delegated outsider, the primary and the magical, the intertwined denial, the hidden and threatening. The wider range of the work develops along consistent inner, rich and dialectic textures that radiate beauty and anxiety, temptation and repulsion, the innocence of a child, and the sober clarity of the sage.
Harel Kedem grew up in the Bizaron neighborhood on the banks of the Mosrara wadi, known also as the Ayalon River. The name Mosrara comes from the Arabic clusters of pebbles. At that time it was a wild and untamed part of Tel Aviv, a place for childhood adventures and games. Decades later Kedem returned to the region, which is described in his poem After the Morning Prayers: “After the morning prayers/ and before the Great Sabbath sermon/ we walked the length of /Arlozorov/ a quick brisk walk but / as proposed by the Mishna/ without excessive hand movements/ towards Borochov. / Lunch with Aralle and Dalia. / At “Parashat Drahim” crossroads/ we stopped above the Mosrara/ and argued about the color of the water/ I said. Yes. Acid green/ my wife said you mean lime green/ too pretty. She ruled olive green/ we checked the leavened…”
Kedem’s paintings, like his poems, present the dilemma of formulation, and the urgent aspiration to provide precise definitions of the panoramic vision. He combines the sharp and direct observation of the place with an abstract description of the feelings that arise on location. The translation of these feelings is done through metaphors, colors, lines and gestures. Each of these artistic means serves to combine emotions with intellect until it is hard to separate the two components. They are not detached, but interwoven to create a complete sense of complimentary opposites.
Curator: Hagai Segev