Uzi Zur / With One Eye Shut / November 22 2013

Hadassah Wollman, “Night Watch”, Mordechai Geldman, curator, Artists’ House, Tel Aviv

A modest collection of sensitive lyrical nocturnes is hiding amidst the mediocrity of the various spaces in the Artists’ House in Tel Aviv. This is the poetry of the “Night Watch”, stripped of melody and words into rhythms of darkness and colorful stains of light. And the poetry coloring the illustrated night in Hadassah Wollman’s paintings, observing and writing their beats, the night’s breaths, simultaneously from without and within.

It’s as if Wollman is both wake and walking in her sleep and awake, or that her sleep is drifting and opening unexpectedly to the depth of the surrounding night, a forever young night, ever painful and sweet, distant and close. Sometimes the paintings seem like thin copper strips of the colorful darkness and the twinkling electric lights, whose stains and shapes are fused together into a an almost abstract whole.

These paintings also posses something of the night paintings of German Weimar expressionism, a kind of distant twinkling from Berlin street scenes depicted by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. And maybe a hidden tone, dark, apocalyptic, of the end of an era, is lurking in this rich, apathetic, decadent night.

In the painting “Night Whispers” it seems that melted grand pianos are compressed in the already condensed night, and their keys are plucked in musical rows that cradle against the stars’ or neon billboards’ theatrical grid background. From the depths of the pianos flows a warm light as a patchwork quilt, and before them is the pianist, like a prophet, curving his naked animal body, towards the warm light. This is a tempting and terrifying nocturnal devil, like one of the grotesque figures watching from above the Notre Dame onto the Paris night, a painting that the rhythm of jazz is pulsating through its arteries like electricity in the light bulbs.