Artwork

Sylvan Lionni
Kaddish, 2008

Sylvan Lionni realizes his paintings using a kind of mimetic ready-made method. The artist avoids classical painting decisions along the lines of ‘arbitrary’ ways of finding color and composition, and focuses upon the graphic and semantic surfaces of his immediate environment instead: lottery, baseball, supermarket, stickers, wallpaper, carpets, street signs and everyday symbols. The motifs are fed into the computer and altered with regard to section and perspective view with the help of graphics software; in the next step, they are transferred onto a finely structured surface with uncountable layers of paint in the slow tempo of Old Masters. In this manner, only a few paintings per year are produced. The title of the 10-part image series Kaddish refers to one of the most significant prayers in Judaism, a litany of praise to God that has been developed and modified over centuries. According to some sources, the Kaddish should be recited ten times a day, with ten adult Jewish persons present.  Whilst Lionni’s series of images can be read as a memorial for the obliteration of Judaism in the 20th century, it is also, in formal terms, an homage to abstract German artists of the 1960s/70s such as Imi Knoebel and Blinky Palermo.

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