by Dalit Nemirovsky | 24.09.12

Michele Bubacco, Incident at the Market, 2009, oil on canvas, 141×119

Litvak Gallery opened in June the first solo exhibition in Israel of the Italian artist Michele Bubacco. The show named Whitegray focuses on works from various series he created over the past five years, including works that were painted during his stay in Israel in the months preceding the exhibition.

Questions about human existence, suffering and death have been subjects for all artists from as long as we know art. In the text that accompanies this exhibition, Michele Bubacco is described as a young painter anguished about mankind, recognizes its wretched condition and laments this condition in his paintings.

The exhibition revolves mainly around the theme of the myth of Prometheus, who was punished for helping mortals in defiance of the gods’ will. Within this myth lies the key to reading Bubacco’s work and understanding his creative universe. The painting Prometheus (2009), from the eponymous series in the exhibition, depicts a man bent over backwards, alone in space, while on his stomach perch two doves. One bird is waiting, while its companion is gnawing at the hero’s flesh, wounding it. Also in the exhibition are works from the series Meals, which centers on abstract paintings within which the observer can discern the pound of red flesh sitting on a round plate. Here, Bubacco adds another link to the chain of artists who have taken part in this “celebration of flesh,” including Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco Goya, Chaim Soutine, Francis Bacon and Jenny Saville. In another series, Portraits, the artist portrays modern man as detached from himself and his surroundings.

Michele Bubacco, Prometheus, 2009, oil on canvas, 103×146

Michele Bubacco, Ruminant, 2009, oil on canvas, 113×63

One of Bubacco’s crowning achievements – the colossal (13 meters long and 2.20 meters high) painting Crimson Orchestra (2011) – is displayed in the Project Room built especially for this exhibition. The complex composition depicts almost 50 male figures crowded together in varying attitudes – standing, sitting, kneeling, lying down, falling – and engaged in various occurrences that revolve around the act of eating. The painting was first shown at the exhibition “Paint it Black on the White Night,” which was held at the Ikona Gallery in Venice as a satellite exhibition accompanying the Venice Biennale, 2011.

Over the past few months during his stay in Israel, Bubacco has sketched hundreds of studies for a series of four huge paintings based on a black-gray-white palette on natural fabric. The paintings’ title, Girotondo III (2012), meaning “wheel,” is taken from the name of an Italian folksong for children. Part of the ongoing work for this series are mounted in the exhibition.

Exhibition curator: The Litvak Gallery
The exhibition catalogue contains an essay by Ron Bartos.

Exhibition dates: Thursday, June 28, 2012 – Wednesday, October 30, 2012

Litvak Gallery
Museum Tower
4 Berkovits Street
Tel: (03) 695-9496

Gallery hours
Monday through Wednesday: 11:00 – 19:00
Thursday: 11:00 – 20:00
Friday: 10:00 – 14:00
Entrance is free.


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