Eran Shakine | “Good help is hard to find…”
Curator: Dr. Kezia Alon

“Good help is hard to find…” says Shakine, quoting a common phrase and charging it with ironic tension. In the housemaid series Shakine creates a visualization of this “help” by using formal means. The face is drawn in a ne, delicate line, the pro le is soft and warm, the posture, the way the hair falls on the back and the ironing hand, all endow the housemaid with a certain reality, a “reality” which is sometimes overlooked in everyday life. It seems that Shakine’s re ned portraits are created in reference to Modigliani’s portraits of women, their elegance, melancholy and sorrow emanating from every corner. Shakine’s housemaids are rarely presented in full body. Their limbs are boldly severed while the composition accentuates the “functionality” of their position in the domestic space. The gures are “sitting on air”, with no hold in the pictorial world, like in the material world, coming and going, as if on an assembly line. Shakine paints them delicately, in a soft blur, while using a reduced palette. Thus he builds the gures as “Icons” rather than portraying a speci c portrait.

The large abstract paintings are based on biographical experiences as well.

“The invasion of the substantial to the painting” did not occur only as an early biographical experience, but also as a current event. In the past, Shakine used to make large scale paintings on open rooftops which functioned as his studios. On these rooftops the wind blew, the rain dropped and at times Shakine found himself shoveling the snow in order to “ nd the hidden painting”. Shakine chose to leave the imprints of natural forces on the canvas, in order to substantiate the materials that choose to “enter” the canvas, to wallow in it, and invade it. Historical layers blend with climatic layers, various feelings mix into one pictorial solidity. The captions of the paintings expose the natural processes which were involved in their creation: “185 days of sun 87 days of clouds 48 days of rain” or “326 days of sun 84 days of clouds 34 days of rain”

Shakine’s works offers us a complex catalogue of young Israeliness. Spirituality, Western culture, Jewish motifs expressed through humor, social sensitivity, a long forgotten echo of the rhetoric of status, a socialistic background, faded romanticism, recreation of the domestic and longing for intimacy are all components of a fascinating formal catalogue, extremely Israeli.