Zonder titel [Untitled]

Ido Bar-El


Painting, 80 x 100 cm.
Materials: paint on aluminium

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK007311).

Ido Bar-El tries to avoid the spell of art history as much as possible.  Since the 1990s he's been concentrating on colour, form and texture.  Painting is itself the subject and purpose of his artistic practice.

Bar-El opts for non-conventional supports (like found chests, doors, table-tops, drawers, boxes etc.) and simplified motifs.  These 'pictograms' present objects that include machines, measuring instruments, toys and shopping carts, but sometimes they are so rudimentally presented or so vaguely painted, that the viewer can barely recognize them. Indeed, they move in the realm of total abstraction.

From his own testimony, the work of Ido Bar-El turns around painting: the pleasure of painting, the communion with materials, and the manipulation of various parameters.  The focus lies on the work of art and not on anything extraneous to it.  This is also apparent from the stillness within which they are invariably shrouded: no stories are told, no words are said, no titles are provided.  

Nonetheless, these are not purely aesthetic objects.  The artist chooses his materials – support and medium – with an eye to their incompatibility.  The materials brought together in a painting repel one another, like the dilute oil paint that 'retreats' from the aluminium, so evoking the uneasiness felt by the artist vis-à-vis contemporary society, in particular with respect to the Middle East.

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