If you go to see the latest pictures by the German artist Norbert Bisky you will be confronted by strong colours, large formats and a surprisingly large number of real motifs. They are currently on show in Israel. The exhibition is the result of a special project for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel. At the beginning of the year, Bisky and the Israeli artist Ere Israeli exchanged their studios in Berlin and Tel Aviv for three months. Bisky was impressed by the beauty and hospitality of the country, but also shocked by the terror threat. Every day he walked along Levinsky Street to the studio and took photos on his mobile phone. That was how real motifs found their way onto canvas – and into the exhibition “Levinsky Street” at the renowned Givon Art Gallery.
Socialist realism, Baselitz and Goya
If you want to decipher the (pictorial) world of Norbert Bisky, you have to take a closer look at his biography. Born in 1970, Bisky grew up in the grey everyday life of the GDR. The state even controlled art. The result was socialist realism. Bisky experienced how “an entire world can disappear from one day to the next”, mistrusted words and turned to painting. After the fall of the Wall he studied painting at the Berlin University of the Arts with Georg Baselitz, who himself stems from the GDR and is known for his upside-down motifs. In 1995, Bisky went to Spain for a year and studied the works of Francisco de Goya and Jusepe de Riberas. His first large works are bright oil paintings that give the impression of being packed in cotton wool. His later pictures became sombre. You can see both approaches as very personal answers to his biography. Now reality has gripped him once again.
The exhibition “Norbert Bisky – Levinsky Street” is on display at the Givon Art Gallery in Tel Aviv until 10 November 2015.