The “Yehiel Krize From the Gabi and Ami Brown Collection” exhibition and catalogue are devoted to a distinctive artist in Israeli art whose work is not adequately known and about whose life much information is lacking. We have chosen to cast some light on Yehiel Krize’s personality and his approach to painting by means of authentic texts written by himself and by his contemporaries, most of which have not been published before. We have not included interpretative or other writings about him that were written years later and that echo a reality whose language and values reflect a different order. The emphasis in this compilation has been placed on an immersion in details, with the aim of facilitating a pause in time for an attentiveness directed both to what is explicit and what is implicit, thus adding a further dimension to the contemplation of the works themselves, of their texture with its numerous layers and hues.
Besides texts that Krize himself wrote, and letters that he wrote to his family, the compilation contains a piece by the author Hanoch Bartov, who was a neighbor of Krize’s in his childhood home in Petach Tikva. Here we get a glimpse of the home he was brought up in, the hassidic home of his parents whose values he could esteem, “the warm piety, the devotion to the imagination, to the will to execute it” that he wrote of in a letter to his parents. The writings highlight an atmosphere of alertness, a clash between contrary directions in the spirit of the time, and Krize’s decisive choice: a choice of art that was perceived in his home as a kind of remonstration. The combination of these source materials makes possible a complex comprehension of the choices Krize made during his life, choices for which he paid a considerable personal price.
Krize’s unequivocal turn to abstract painting in the late ’50s reached its peak in his “White Period”, and a review by the artist and critic Joav BarEl focuses entirely on a contemplation of the minutest details of “this brushwork, which is totally monochromatic in nature, and in which Krize uses only white paint”. Other quotations from Krize on this subject direct our view to the sensitive and refined frequency, the color, the line, and to what Krize called “a going deeper into the unknown”. Echoes of disputes can be found between the lines. Krize, who was exposed to American painting, turned to a pure, monochromatic abstract to which viewers had not been accustomed in the local art. “This point may indeed provoke argument, since the uniformity of color is undoubtedly achieved by removing the conflict of colors. But this argument that is taking place in the art world today does not concern us here” (BarEl).
The pulse of the time still beats in the various perspectives revealed in the compilation of writings presented here, and they can provide some insights on Yehiel Krize’s uncompromising endeavors as an artist and outline his intensive, sensitive, distilled path in painting, which was his entire world.
Works from the Brown Collection
Curator: Galia Bar Or