Herzliya Museum of Art,
Essay: Gideon Ofrat
There are artists who go out from their personal intimacy into the intimacy of the world - into the bottle, the apple, the man in front. Morandi was such an artist, Yossef Hirsch is such an artist. They are the microcosm. As against that, there are artists with more complex systems. The macrocosm. These go out, evidently, from their inner self, but they join the systems, whether sociopolitical – or physical – or cosmic – or what not. The Constructivists were such artists, and so is Michal Na’aman. Dorit Feldman is such an artist. The wider, extra-personal system – cosmic, in her case – defines her inner, private personality, and vice-versa.
To the secret of the universe. Indeed, the basic romantic hope is still alive here: to arrive from Culture to Nature, to unite the creative consciousness with the nucleus of Nature’s forces, the “subject” with the “object” (Schelling). Dorit Feldman goes along a lane, the roots of which are very steeped in Western culture. A lane which is two hundred years old – and more. She is faithful to that lane, she carries out the cognitive act of the return to the original Creation with the hope of reaching the substantial. The hidden substance will be discovered in the endlessly continuing action of the mythical unification of the potential components of the universe. The creation act is a renewed personal crystallization, at the same time real and metaphoric, of the universe materials – the vegetal, animal and mineral reigns: the liquid, the solid and the ethereal. The act of crystallization is an act of crystalline. The creation process as a process of creation. To unite the differentiated categories, not for the purpose of creating monsters in the style of Michal Na’aman’s compositions, but to arrive from Nature A to Nature B, which is already a personal encounter of the artist and the flowing Nature, the same Bergsonian, natural and metaphysical profound “duration” which Dorit Feldman unintentionally confirms.
As a 1986 style neo-romantic, Dorit Feldman will be attracted by Nature’s nucleus, precisely with the exotic (look at her pineapple, the papaya, the devouring flowers), concealed in the mysteries (of the shell, of the rock cracks, of the fruit), and with the dynamic sensuality which is revealed in all her pictorial-sculpture works and in all her colors. Her way to the secret of Nature’s essence is also, as was stated, the endless way towards herself. The irrational loads of Eros and Death, which will rise (see below) from her creation, are at the very same time her and Nature’s living, internal, and nuclear. This is an additional union in the system of unions. The creation is the experience to bridge. The creation was by itself designed as an organic unit of Nature: open, flowing, unifying, living – even though it be wholly inorganic. The mating was so to speak completed: Nature became culture and culture became Nature. So to speak. Below the erotic mantle of Nature, lying in Feldman’s creation between culture and Nature, the artistic-physical margin between crystallization and the natural growing processes of the animal and the vegetable kingdoms goes on. The rectangular plans are juxtaposed the one against the other and create a crystalline system, in as far as the rocks are photographed (and in as far as the glossy “Cibachrome” photograph gives to the works a feeling of precious stones). In this respect, mention should be made of a marginal (if we may use the word) series of photographs of diamonds, located in the personal artistic context, which D. Feldman photographed. At any rate, if material should be defined as crystalline, thanks to the periodicity in its inter-atomic configuration and in its complying with the laws of angular performance, of triangular interpretations and of reticulation – because then D. Feldman’s fluorescent exponents are, true enough, evolutionists and even too amorphous to fit with a crystal, but at the same time, they are attached thereto – whether in their complex reticular formats or in their more internal shapes. We should also emphasize that a crystal will only develop in its mother liquor and it will be arrested in its development should it be put in contact with any solid. At D. Feldman’s juxtaposition with solids does not prevent the crystallization process since – as we shall subsequently see, wateriness reigns on everything.
Let us put it this way: the inorganic tendency in Feldman’s exponents supports the crystallization principle. The rock and mineral elements will lead to the crystal shapes, but the animal and vegetable elements will lead to the shapes of the other evolution. And yet, let it be emphasized: both the existential and morphological messages in Feldman’s creation are the negation of the boundary between the organic and the inorganic, and therefore also the negation of the dichotomy between the two principles of development. The mineral is alive, the living material is stone-like, and therefore – the crystalline and the amorphous are absorbed, the one in the other.
In the even more profound base of her creation, Dorit Feldman supports a certain mythological conception. Her relationship with the systems of the universe is capable of not confirming or of negating a cosmic-metaphysical conception of this or that kind. Feldman’s creation must therefore indeed be seen against the mythical post-medieval, the Elizabethan, background, for instance: here a cosmic and a macrocosmic order supported each other in perfect parallelism. Relying on Ernobius’ medieval conception, baroque circles, as Hooker and Sir Walter Raleigh, adopted the Logos principle – the intellectual structure of the universe: the universe was understood as stability and equilibrium, with elements integrated together with wisdom and intelligence. Everything is bound together: the sky (stars and signs of the zodiac), the metals, the body of Man and the body of the Earth. So it is that the eagle represents the king. Because there exists an equality between the two: the king parallels the King of Kings, as it is parallel to gold, and so forth. Hence, also, an injury to one plan in this universal order is tantamount to injuring all the system in its entirety, and causing a universal catastrophe, because all the plans are connected together in perfect harmony. Let us add that in the concept of this mythical conception, the required human psychology is the instauration of an inner order – the instauration of the celestial intelligence on desires and senses. Shakespeare’s plays are brim-filled with literal confirmations of those conceptions.
Let us emphasize it: we are dealing with a static conception of the universe and society. It is based on the medieval principle of the guiding “orders” of celestial formation of angels, through class orders, through inner physical orders, and up to mineral orders. Each with its hierarchy – and the parallelism between them all. The flowing and/or the inspiration from God make it imperative that the eternal ranks and metaphysical unity should reign at each and every level in the total hierarchy of Man. Holiness reigns over everything, therefore. This conception shall return and rise in various modes in western civilization, in various circles, and in various authors. Let us recall the neo-Platonism of Ficino, the man of the Florentine Renaissance, uniting in a parallel was the stars of the sky and the minerals to the inner state of minds. His influence on Botticelli is well known. Even much later, Schopenhauer shall compare the various degrees of music to the various degrees of the cosmos: the bass shall be compared with the mineral, the tenor to the vegetation, the alto to the animal, the soprano to the human, and so forth. It should be emphasized that regarding Schopenhauer, the binding octave distance between the bass and the other sounds is a confirmation of the distance of the organic from the inorganic.
Up to here concerning the ancient and the other cosmogony. From here onwards, we have the cosmogony of Dorit Feldman. Let us say in simple words: Dorit completely overturns the aforementioned system,. She presents a dynamic conception, in which the high and lowly, the living and the inanimate, the organic and the inorganic, the dry and the damp, and so on, mix with each other so as to confirm, inter alia, the new psychology of the instinct's victory over intelligence.
First of all, Dorit Feldman cancels the boundaries between the categories. That’ indeed, is the mythical action – they union of the “world of powers” into a sensitive, dynamic world, rejecting the cognizance difference between things: “all those differences are cancelled by a more powerful sentiment: the deep internal consciousness of the basic and indelible solidarity of life, bridging the multiplication of, and difference between, isolated shapes. Man does not attribute to himself a special, privileged place in the scale of Nature. It would appear that the blood relationship between the shapes of life is the preliminary assumption of mythical thought.” (Ernest Cassirer) Spirits in stones, a divine spirit in animals, a living passage from the realm of life to the realm of death (the netherworld), from the temporary to the eternal, and so on.
In Dorit Feldman’s works are represented the representatives of the “existent” in to totality of its various levels: minerals, stones, roots, trees, flowers, animals, air, sea animals and land animals, and these in various degrees of feathers, bones, flesh, horns, and alongside all these, also humans, and even gods, although rather infrequently: there is the goddess figure – Botticelli’s Venus, for instance – bursts forth from the heart of a flower in ceramics; and there is – a bone from among the bones revealing itself to be an ancient idol. The lofty level looks, therefore, from the earthly, in the same measure as a stone processed – with the help of painted synthetic terra cotta – reveals itself as being an animal, or a full bodied part, vegetables turn into stones (like ceramics), horns appear as soft and liquid, etc. Everything is mixed with everything else. For example: in the framework of the “Tel - Hai 83” happenings, Dorit Feldman exhibited, amongst other things, a set of processed stones (in painted synthetic terra cotta), hanging on the wall in human body form. Savage stones represented inner parts of the body – the brain, the dorsal spine, the heart, the liver and more. Each unit burst out all by itself in an unambiguous association with the world of the living: here, a bird, there, a snake, here, a spring, there, the head of a bear, and more. Those close to their roots, stalks and other manifestations of Nature.
The carnal and erotic metaphorical sensuality arising from all this whirlwind gives a reply to the pretention of the rule of Logos in ancient cosmogony. Here, in Feldman’s creation, the individual creativity arises with all its power, until it is defined as the basic law of Nature. The creativity of the individual is the reply to the power of the divine mind which lost its strength in the new Western civilization. The compositions which the artist composes confirm the absence of a fixed order. The composition is a refuge from chaos, and the farthest it is possible to reach is a personal irrational order. Nature – as Nietzsche defined it – too, is but an irrational object.
Thence the defined relationship between the categories of sea, land and air: the sea has a strong presence in Feldman’s creation: shells, cypress leaves looking like algae, profound sensuality of a morphological flux: women in the position of floating in the sea; water birds – the pelican; here and there, shell colors. And nevertheless, as is wateriness, so is the land; since we have already mentioned stones and the minerals, and when these are not photographed in a two-dimensional system, they are constituted as a very much present three-dimensional body. Alongside those, land animals, with a deer at their head, and land plants – the olive, the ficus and others. Indeed, the water, the land. And the air ? Birds, butterflies – the flying animals. Until now, the triple hierarchy from which artists as Abraham Ofek (at the end of the seventies) or Michal Na’aman drew the basic compositions for their creations. But not for Dorit Feldman: the erosion and corrosion of air and water dissolve and crumble the stones, at the very time that the artist’s creation heaps materials on the existing materials and constructs new nature forms. The crumbling and crystallization processes, as annihilation and creation dynamic processes destroy the triple hierarchy. And therefore, not necessarily a bird on the top, a stone at the bottom and an animal in between, but the other way round. A stone hanging up (“quivering”) is a frequent vision in Dorit Feldman’s creation.
The sea is a mythological Eros force. It is the beginning of the world. Venus, already mentioned before, was born from the sea. Its central character is well understood in artistic creation penetrating the question of the Creation. But Dorit is interested in the most primitive Creation – the cosmic and the Genesis one, in which all the elements intermingle to create life. The artist is the Woman dealing with the great fertility of Nature, and constructs from within the chaos, the disorderly pandemonium of the crumbling of the intellectual hierarchies and categories. The time of producing the artwork is the time of the Creation. Does Dorit Feldman build “fossils”? Without doubt, part of the objects photographed -juxtaposed, etc. are supposed to look like antiques, fossils of plants which turned into stone. But others look like a gazelle-stone, a bone-stone, and so on. A present abstraction coming out from sensuality and action moves backwards to prehistoric strata – so to speak, and in reality, at the same time. The stones look archaic, the animal from the Jungle of Genesis, the vegetation is still mixed up, Nature primitive. Man appears here nude, in his pre-civilized state. This is what we said – from civilization to Nature. D. Feldman fuses together the materials of the universe to the ancient cosmic creation situation. All the materials of the universe are mixed in a centrifugal vortex, and/or a crystalline system like the situation of Genesis. Not by chance, we shall meet Adam and Eve in one of the drawings, and they, too, are still joined, head-to-head, as if the Genesis separation of male from female had not yet been ordered (see the mythos of the erotic creation, in Plato’s “The Symposium”).
The paradox: a unity possible only in the primordial chaos. The fulfillment is only possible within a retreat to the archaic past. Primitive Nature is only an artificial nature (culture).
If that is the case, Dorit’s work expresses an un fulfillment state of distress and romantic yearning. As is the power of Nature’s romanticism, so is the power of culture. And more than confirming an erotic unity, the artwork expresses its contrary – the existentialist cornering into a situation of impossible division and decomposition. The act of “returning” shall never be realized. In one center of Feldman’s most important designs is situated the “Thinker”: naked, surrounded by primitive strength, he gives a perspective of meditation due to the relations between Nature and culture and their origins – backwards and forwards.
And therefore, facing all the joining, construction, creation, in Feldman’s works, stands the complete crumbling. The joining is that of the elements, plans, bodies and so forth. The joining, we said, is revealed in the principles of crystallization, interesting the artist, as certain minerals. But “joining” is also the bi-sexuality reigning on her androgyne characters, on the objects and forms, which are very feminine (shapes of womb and vagina, principally) and very masculine (phallic). He and she are joined, in the same measure as a woman crouching, joined to a deer.. To join in the great unity creating the mythos. Laschk Kolakowsky: “In all the (mythological) cases, there is one sole and single matter: to refrain from resigning oneself with the random world, which every time expresses up to exhaustion, in its unstable situation, the existence of what is now, and it has nothing to do and bear its eyes to.” (The Presence of the Mythos)
And regarding the fact that the point of departure is the disassembling, pluralism reigns here, and in its epicenter, the multiplication of the medias: sketching, drawing, photography, collage, assemblages, sculpture, ceramics… Dorit photographs or draws the sculpture on stone and synthetic clay. More than once, the colorfulness of the drawing will be drawn from the colorfulness of the photographed sculpture. A pencil sketching will appear on light colored oil surfaces – and deeply dark ones are mainly created by photography. The unions are also the tensions between the hard and the soft, stone and flesh, bone and fruit, horn and flower – and yet, not tensions of dramatic opposition, but tensions of completeness. Except that the paradoxically continues to trickle from the artist’s running out of herself into herself; the construction only reveals the crumbling, and from beyond all the “Eros”, there is Thanatos looking on.
First of all, Eros: fleshy, sensual, full-bodied fruits, concealed as sperm or ovule. The womb and vagina shapes in the fruit, the shells and the stones. In a work dated 1983, the batata is photographed as a vagina, with a shell as clitoris. The fruit also are fleshy, full-bodied. Eros is the mating applying to Dorit’s creation, it is the force of life – and gives life to the stones, too. But, no less present here is Death. The erosion – corrosion processes are processes of degradation and deformation, and side by side – the stones painted and photographed are like inner organs. Flesh tissue are here present from everywhere, a metaphorical butcher. Behind the great dynamics there is here present a sensation similar to animal sounds of the kind of the 17th century Flemish. A baroque realism.
The deer also belongs to the Thanatos plain. The deer’s power and horns, the grace of its flowing movement are but one side of its cultural experience. Its other side is the sacrificed, the slaughtered deer. It glances from beyond many of D. Feldman’s creations. A simplified look-alike of a deer’s head grows from a painted terra cotta from within a mineral stone. The horn, as an erotic phallus, is one side of a slaughtered head, meaning Death. The same applies to another piece, in which a deer’s horn is drawn, as if twisting the body of the painted terra cotta, juxtaposed to a savage stone. More and more deer in this dual relationship. For the location of the sacrifice of the deer, responds the fact that the artist discovered the deer in a visit to Lapland, in 1978. There, she also acquired a deer’s horns as a souvenir of those deer passing in multitudes near her, In such a context, the deer means, therefore, an unleashed force of Nature, far away from civilization. So, generally speaking is Lapland – it fascinates the artist in its remoteness and its location at the boundary end of civilization. This is also why the Artist photographed a tent of nomad Lapps, transposed in her works between her own image and the processed stones.
The romantic yearning moves the artist to far away Lapland, to the “end of the world”, but the other concreteness – the local one, that of the existence and the point of origin of the artist, is also less present. Here is a statue of an Arab appearing near a color photograph of a laborer ploughing an olive grove. This is the archaism of an ancient statue, or a basalt block looking like a millstone, an echo of the Mediterranean civilization. And here is the photograph of the Tel-Hai lion (part of the ensemble constructed by D. Feldman at “Tel-Hai ‘83”), reddish-pinkish (with the rosiness of flesh, and not the whitishness of the stones of Galilee), savage stones explode from within its head, as disassembled brains or an aggressive parasite tumor. Again and again, an allusion to localization. A localization unavoidable due to working here. An unavoidable localization, in the event that the existing from present existence and the return thereto is unavoidable in the great Nature – civilization march on which the Artist embarked. The paradox was therefore widened: here, it is there, and there, it is here. Dorit Feldman cannot resign herself. Her voyage does not reveal to her any golden fleece, but more and more paradoxes. An audacious sexuality, balanced by the organs of the “butcher’s shop”, leaves her with the worry of death and the longing for unity. She therefore continues: She penetrates more and more inside, she more and more moves backwards. As a scientist splitting an atom, unceasingly.
Dorit Feldman deals with the anatomy of the existence, the fleshy presence of her creation’s organs being metaphoric. In “The Anatomy Lesson” of Feldman, there is different movement from the one we know from the anatomy status in the History of Art: contrary to the Renaissance, which went from anatomy to clothing, Feldman goes from clothing to anatomy. The tendency of disassembly bursts out, as shall be recalled from below the tendency to unity. The atmosphere of autopsy reigns here in the drawings, and sometimes also the feeling of morbidity to savage growths. Accordingly, the artist’s photographs look more than once as colorful radiographies, supporting in their processing stones sculptured in shapes of bones and inner organs. Except that the autopsy also reveals Life – the large animals concealed in the form of inner organs and Eros in the reproductive organs. The photograph of a dead bird attached to a root or bone-shaped terracotta object, to which is glued a conch shell near a copper stone. Between the dead bird and the shell is created the tension between Death and Life. Disharmony and morbidity give birth to the healthy harmony. Thence, if the Renaissance conception of the “essences” saw the “essence” in the structure of inner organs, to which are progressively added the external phenomena, then in Feldman we shall not be able to arrest any static and absolute essence whatsoever. Her bone reveals itself to be an animal, and this is what we (and she, the artist) are condemned to, an infinite process of unknowable in the infinite and frequently changing existence in the multiplication of its faces.
Change is growth. Feldman’s works “grow”. They grow upwards, they are alive. Cutting part of drawing-photograph and its anti-framing composition assembly of the parts, expands the creation of life and grants it a living and open movement. The shape of growth is introverted in the works, An “Art-Nouveau” of vegetative linearity, particularly relevant to the morphological dynamics of Feldman’s creations. Organic and vegetative shapes units the structures, the materials and the images, and characterize the spreading of the painter’s brush. Among others. And not by chance, the statuette of “Art-Nouveau” (the Arab mentioned before) which the artist found, and it is now integrated to the side of the photograph of an olive tree, the photographed “ceramic” flower and all the rest. Sometimes the artist will emphasize the fibers of the plywood in a flowing manner, in the shape of an additional vegetative flow. This growth combines into an upwards “gothic” movement. A narrow and long format characterizes many of the works. They aim upwards. And yet, in the same measure, do they not aim downwards? And thus the shape of flow (let us underline it: not spots, but always linearity flows in Feldman’s creations!) separates very rapidly from the gothic context in favor of a much more complex movement. The clear victory is that of the Baroque: multiplication, disorder, absence of equilibrium and overabundance of elements. Not by chance, the artists who fascinate Dorit are baroque artists: El Greco (his post-gothic flowing are indirectly present here), Bernini and others.
The shape of the growth being dealt with might conceal the more celestial tree than in the “kabbalistic: set-up. In 1983-84, Dorit Feldman learned the principles of the Kabbalah, the Jewish Mysticism. The cosmogonic conceptions used as a historic background to her personal approach (see above) pass, therefore, through Kabbalah, also. Furthermore, the study of Kabbalah proves spontaneously much similarity with Feldman’s aforementioned conception. Because there is the structure of the Kabbalistic “Tree of Levels”, referring to the scale of the ten levels of divine holiness, a system in which not only the loftier acts on the lowlier, but each part of the element acts on each other part of the element (G. Shalom, Fundamental Chapters in the Comprehension and Symbols of Kabbalah”). The Divinity – Creation relationship is a system of dynamic entities flowing upwards and downwards. “The dynamic character of divine guidance and the existing mutual relationship between the sublime and the lowest appear with more clarity precisely in the actions of the Divine Presence. It is reflected in various symbols, such as the female and the sea and the like, of sublime abundance, so to speak…” (Tishbi, “Chapters from the Zohar”). This two-way dynamic is described in the Zohar chapters by a drawing of the transformation of the garden into a spring, or the well and the hole, or male and female – an imagery very close to the principle of contrariety resting on Dorit Feldman’s creation. The sexuality residing in the nature of her creation fits the “Kabbalistic” erotica of the basis relationship (the lower river) and wisdom (the upper river). So Feldman’s linkage (unconscious, but certain during the years prior to 1982) with Kabbalah is a linkage of gap of contraries: the forces of existence against the forces of destruction, good and evil, divinity and “the other side”. The union of contrasts which Feldman carries out in her creation is susceptible, therefore, to being interpreted in terms of the Kabbalistic longing for salvation: “Only as a pace between the dispute of reciprocal love, maintaining the world, and the dispute separating enmity, condemning the world to holocausts and destruction. Thence the fantastic responsibility lying on Man, having in his hands the mechanism for coordination of conflicts and equilibrium of forces, and his actions inflect the balance to innocence or guilt. (Y. Tishbi, “Chapters from the Zohar”). Except that all of the above are speculations of the commentator facing a work that is not apperceived, but essentially intuitive. Let us not forget it.
As mentioned, Feldman’s way to the artistic representation of the above cosmogonic conception commenced in the intuition of a young woman faithful to herself. Her studies in the Art Teachers College, or the “Midrasha”, as it is affectionately known to the world of art in Israel (1975-79), she completed in the same generation as Nurit David, Tsivi Geva, Miri Nishri, Ronit Dovrat and others. This is a generation which grew up from a certain pluralistic language which had course in the “College” of that time – collages of drawings, photographs, sculpture and more. Part of the language of the “College” at the end of the seventies was apperceived (writing), its material infrastructure is plywood (work on plywood characterizes Dorit to this day. Partial cutting in plywood is also an inheritance from the school), and she makes much use of body language. It is therefore permitted to say that Dorit passed from the photographed art of the body, present in her early works, to the introversion of corporeality at a more abstract level in her later works. Her conceptual linguistic contamination during her school periods were immediately substituted in favor of more direct, sensuous characters. Let us recall, however, a work from 1978, in which two symmetric photographs of the Artist appeared, alongside her appearance in a biblical role, accompanied by the text: “His palms are like acacia, and as a red libation, his sap is sought after.” The archaism arising from this work, and the linkage between the victim on the altar already, allude to contents which will occupy her later on. For instance, an earlier color photograph, from her student days, shows the young artist holding in her arms (forming the shape of a triangle on her torso) three large ficus leaves, covering her head. The head as a flower. Already here, therefore, D. Feldman mixed the “College’s” pluralistic language with tendencies of cosmic categories unification tendencies. Man and the plant, in this case.
A follow-up of Dorit’s development since her College days proves how crystallized the Artist was since the commencement of her way:
1978 – A dual structure work: on the left, the Artist sits and holds the two deer horns in her hands. The horns are coming down form her head. Also from the head, there protrudes a three-dimensional body, simultaneously abstract-fleshy-stony. Above her, the sketch of the head of a tiger, emitting a red corpuscle from its mouth. In a parallel drawing, the sketch of the tiger recovers the head of the Artist, and the fleshy stone has disappeared from her hands.
It would appear that the connection with subsequent works is quite clear. The desire of union with the animal (deer, tiger) appears more than a little as arising from the influence of Michal Na’aman, who served as Dorit’s guide in the College. The photographed and drawn images of animals had much influence on Dorit’s contemporaries. And, indeed, photographs of birds and fish, in addition to the animals mentioned earlier, already appeared in the Artist’s collages.
It would appear that the additional momentum came in 1979 with her tour of Lapland. A series of works from that year proves a strong linkage to the primitivism of the living structures of branches, earth and more. Dorit becomes part of the Lapp primitivism background with her image, her fossilized objects, her colors, and so on. The world of the nomads perhaps supports the dynamics becoming the principles reigning more and more over her works. From that point on, is the mixing with the tendency of unification of categories, the act of moving backwards to the old are there. In 1980, when D. Feldman identifies herself in one of her works with the myth of Leda and the Swan, then she already confirms her full independent knowledge. This is the period in which Dorit already places herself in a promoted Nature; between the large and fleshy ficus leaves, she holds an abstract-erotic-organic structure. In another work, she bends on the seashore and holds a dead fish. She photographs a basin containing processed stones. The sea as Eros, the sea as Death. In a further work from 1980, the body and the hands are photographed in a bowing shape. The hands hold a painted terra cotta object decorated as a phallic plant. The lower photography unit contains a fleshy-flowery object on the background of a fabric and its foldings. The physical and the metaphysical, the soft and the hard, the plant with the stone and the body, etc. The totality of the systems of the existent.
And indeed, in 1980, Dorit knows herself as an artist. In her subsequent steps, she perfects her expression by means of a morphological development (the passage from the “Cibachrome” photography for instance, and the excessive composition of the system) and the changes in the external symbolism of the characters. And behold, this is so, in the years 1983-1985, she tries her skills in drawn, figurative characters (until then figurative images had appeared in her creations only in photography and sculpture): characters of a man and a deer are drawn in a Munch-like flow. The figures are projected from the books of anatomy or the photographs of a ballerina whom the Artist photographed. The body frequently appears in situations of convergence in the direction of the intrauterine, and in that, it fits with the same sexual granulose and the first silent desire which we deal with. However, from beyond that, and with the intention of unifying our words with the prior mention of the Kabbalah, we may argue that it is possible to comprehend Feldman’s image of Man in the light of the Kabbalistic concept of the ancient man: the Tree of Levels, which we suggested as an infrastructure to Feldman’s world of dynamic cosmic contrasts, is presented in the Kabbalah in the figure of an archaic Man, parallel to the earthly man. The various levels are put in parallel with a person’s organs. We remember how, in 1983, Dorit constructed man’s inner organs in stone (constructing the Golem?), and we propose to identify the man she has drawn as the same “lowly, earthy man and the upper, mythical man, in which the divinity being revealed assumes a personality” (G. Shalom, Fundamental Chapters in the Comprehension and Symbols of Kabbalah”).
Except that Dorit Feldman did not stop. Since 1985, she has renounced direct figurative images, and she endeavors to express it indirectly, in colored abstractions. Her new oil work proves a post-modernistic spreading of her painting brush (principally, by means of a tendency to organic sensuality), all of it meaning a presence of skin tissues, fleshiness, abstract sensuality. Now Dorit has arrived on her road to a present expression of Man’s body, and she unifies and expands Dr. Haim Finkelstein’s formulation in the Introduction to the Exposition “Flesh and Blood” (1984):
“The departure from modernism in this exhibition assumes a broad spectrum of possible modes of representing the body as both object and subject: Direct representation of the body acting out its basic physiological urges and feelings (Lifshitz); the naked body (Levy); a symbolic evocation of body feeling or experience (Abrahamson); semi-abstract (expressionist) intimations of the body in terms of internal and external organs (Gershuni); iconic schemes utilizing body organs (Na’aman).”
By means of her present creation, Dorit Feldman confirms all her above possibilities, taken together, and she is showing us how much flesh and blood are also spirit.
Dr. Gideon Ofrat