Plaisir oriental


June 2000


Nelly Aman Gallery, Tel Aviv
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about the exhibition

Eliahou Eric Bokobza, who was born in France to a family from Tunisia, mixes diverse visual sources in his paintings: private family photographs, oriental and local symbols and images, Mediterranean paintings. from all these he concocts a series of very colorful paintings. On a background of repetitive patterns that contain an abundance of local, Orientalistic and other images (eyes, fishes, sabra cactus plants, tombs of sheikhs, airplanes, pioneers, Mickey Mouse figures, a portrait of Herzl), figures appear that are representations of local types (a boy, a girl, a father, a mother, a soldier, an “Eastern” rabbi, etc) in “photographic” poses, some of them cliche-like, and some ridiculous. The paintings, which look a little naive and decorative, are not so innocent. Behind the strong coloring and the amusing narrativity, there hides a critical statement about Zionism, family conventions, militarism, religiousness, and nationalism – in brief, about all the things that were meant to produce a “new Jewish man” out of the Israeli melting pot. Bokobza, in his paintings, reflects the strange outcome of this melting pot – a kind of jumble, or conglomerate, of everything mixed with everything. There is something heart-warming (and,for those who dreamed, perhaps heart-breaking too) in their coloring and their inner wealth, which is an embodiment of the “post-Modern”, and perhaps the “post-Zionist”.

Miri Taragan, Ada Naamani