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 Once, Freedom


Seeding, sowing, planting, rooting—everything happens in the garden, and everything changes in it, in an ostensibly marginal occurrence, between a heap of fallen leaves and sitting leisurely on a mat.

Erez Uzan's body of work offers the viewer an intimate glimpse into everyday life. The plants form a double metaphor: they represent freedom and at the same time, the bonds of home and family—the one from which the artist hailed, and the one he made for himself in Israel. In between—the search for equilibrium and balance.

The figure of the protagonist in the featured series is that of the artist, which he created according to biographical and visual characteristics: a young father, 35-years old, born in an agricultural community (moshav) in central Israel, who moves with his family to a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley, trying to maintain family life in a demanding reality and juggle the never-ending set of tasks and chores, with the persistent desire to cling to artistic creation serving as an anchor.

The search for a middle ground between freedom and the rat race is represented as a game, a pastime, through the prism of his second childhood: a plastic house as an image of an all-Israeli childhood; a hose, with which to spend the hot hours of August, while playfully alluding to the mythological, now extinct male figure in the Israeli cult movie Metzitzim (Peeping Toms); rolling on the lawn and playing hide and seek. Sometimes the hiding place is so good—when it is underground—that no one can find the artist in his garden. He is resting now.

In a series of close-up works centered on plants, the artist suggests we zoom in. Having located the occurrence, we plunge in, into the abstract, into the signs, textures, and colors, into a language that needs no words. This is also where the reason for everything lies—the motivation to raise and grow; the wonder of living and sustaining, planting and harvesting, drinking and watering; being a child, a father, a painter.

Zeela Kotler Hadari 

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