Testimony From The Abyss | Feb - Mar 2007

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In an exhibition of pseudo-pastoral paintings, Dubi Kadmon seeks the origin of evil.

A serene herd of aurochs grazes grass by a thick, dark birch forest is at the center of Dubi Kadmon’s exhibition.

Two sources inspired Kadmon’s fascination with the aurochs. One, Dalton Trumbo’s novel “Night of The Aurochs” – the diary of a Nazi Officer, the other on the same subject, a random encounter with a semi-surrealist story where Himmler and the Nazi party leadership wanted to use the image of the ancient aurochs as a symbol of their power. The Nazis admired its past might to such an extent that they even located an appropriate Polish forest where the gigantic behemoth could graze, when brought back to life following 15,000 years of extinction. The plan did not materialize but intrigued Kadmon who sought the motive to aggrandize a beast that dedicates its life to graze and rest; that is too obese to raise its head above its shoulders, and that excels at nothing beyond its size.

In preparation for the painting, Kadmon starts by gluing paper shreds on canvas. Random paper shreds clutching at each other and at the canvas, metamorphose at once into a layered equivocal platform establishing an analogy to the forming of a historic memory on one hand and on the other hand seeks significance in the obvious.

Kadmon’s dexterity with the pencil is so eloquent and expressive that his aurochs seem to have just emerged from a pre-historic cave or been photographed across Montana’s wilderness. This dexterity exposes the contradictions in the aurochs’ image: the image of a powerful, gigantic body standing against all odds on thin, delicate legs, the clumsy posture vis-à-vis the pure gaze, the dense fur against the bold limbs, the solitary individual and the grazing herd. The accuracy with which the aurochs’ image is drawn enables the spectator to ponder its role in the forming of a myth of strength and might.

The density of the oil paint applied as a backdrop to the paintings, functions as a softening element. The colorfulness adorns the penciled aurochs delineating them in a fantastic space.

Thus, center frame between sky and earth, as if planted from another universe, Kadmon’s peaceful aurochs roam in white eternal forests, in an innocent idyll.

Contrary to Trumbo, who was drawn into the soul of Grieban – the Nazi Officer, normalized his crimes and reached absolute identification (by Cleo Trumbo’s testimony), Kadmon summons nature, darkness and beast as innocent bystanders to the turmoil in the human spirit, thus undermining the sublime horror that the Nazis sought to create.