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Ilanit Konopny

Text for-Variations on 1679.jpg
Herzliya museum of contemporary art / Israel
Feb’ 2020

While browsing Facebook in 2016, Iddo Markus came across a marginal image – a digital image called 1679.jpg, which was a picture of a female acquaintance of his in a yellow blouse leaning against some generic Keter Plastic chairs, in an Israeli setting. It was an entirely unremarkable image, with no striking color range or iconic features. Choosing this image almost at random, Markus created his own screenshot of it, thereby severing it from its online origins, and printed it on a variety of fast and domestic printers, making it subject to his own manipulations – which he proceeded to do through a process of downgrading and abstraction. He referred to it as a “itinerant copy.” Since then, for over four years, he has been caught up in an obsessive rhythm of repetitive, continual work, producing and reproducing the image of the woman in the photograph on an almost daily basis. Over a thousand times, her figure repeatedly emerges from his works in various formats – from miniature to huge dimensions – in oils, acrylic, watercolor, monotype, print, and drawings. Having taken a poor image, a “discarded scrap” of visual production that had been destined to be lost in the oblivion of online imagery, worthless and dematerialized – Markus has, through an act of potential timelessness, given it monumentality.

Markus’s image serialization calls to mind Roman Opalka, who also created a series of works born of obsessive repetition: the 1 – ∞ (one to infinity) series of works that he created daily, from 1965 until his death in 2011, by painting numbers in white pigment on 233 fabrics. Starting with the number 1, he painted numbers in consecutive order in horizontal rows, until the entire canvas area was covered, whereupon the next consecutive number became the first of a new canvas, and so forth, until he reached number 5,607,249. He first painted white on a black background, but in 1967 he began adding one percent of white to the black of each canvas, in the knowledge that at some point in the future, the numbers and the background would blend together in a solid white. He defined his method of working as progress toward infinity. His action looked beyond the present, underlining the endlessness of time, while simultaneously illustrating the end of life.

Much like Opalka’s approach, Markus’s 1679.jpg produces a sense of relentless movement toward infinity. Markus is familiar with the woman in the photograph and knows her name, and yet continues to ask who she is – over and over, a thousand times – revealing her as an unstable form that is incomplete and forever unattainable. A thousand times, and yet still not entirely given, still incomplete. In his obsessive action, every canvas, every painted wooden surface, is a portrait of her, inasmuch as they are a self-reflexive portrait of the artist. They all present the human condition as consisting of awareness of the transient nature of life. Each portrait represents an option of a defined frame – a particular movement in the art, a style, structure, form, finite existence. Together, they create a weave that conveys countless possible realizations.

As Gerhard Richter noted in 1965, “Like the photograph I make a statement about real space, but when I do so I am painting, and this gives rise to a special kind of space that arises from the interpenetration and tension between the thing represented and the pictorial space.” At the time, he would paint while studying a photograph in minute detail, and blurring the image with a sponge while the pigments were still wet. He dubbed these works “photo pictures,” and declared that abstract painting and photography are not mutually contradictory forms, and that the relationship he created between the two in his practice is entirely non-hierarchical: the two mediums are equal, each pointing to the other or finding itself in it. Markus created the first portraits in the 1679.jpg series as a figurative analogy for photography. Then, using techniques from the world of photography – defocusing, close-up, cropping – he dived into a single frozen moment of broken temporality and created an abstract analogy of it.  For him, the simultaneous gaze at the photograph and the painting is an invitation for a vision that is at once dual and fluid. He also rearranges the layers of the present in the image space, using it to show, concurrently, different narratives or, as he puts it, create “variations, as in music: seven notes, seven colors, and infinite possibilities within them. I ponder the act of photography as ‘painting in light’ – painting with no manual action, yet one that involves pigment on paper. For me, the link between the two mediums, photography and painting, is about the proliferation of images surrounding us, and the transition from a variety of digital options to manipulation of material that is related to physical reality.”

Today, Luc Tuymans propounds, unlike the time when artists such as Vija Celmins and Gerhard Richter created hyper-realistic or photo-realistic paintings from photographs, or perhaps in a bid to challenge that approach, the relationship between the mediums is no longer a contentious issue, as photography is now considered an integral part of the painter’s toolkit. Tuymans uses photographs that he draws from many different sources – from television and computer, to photographs he takes on his phone – and bases his paintings on photographs that he distorts digitally, or on drawings of his own that he modifies by photographing them, once or repeatedly. According to him, “As an artist operating in the ever-decelerating reality of the art world, I can only observe that behind the mask of what is presented as ‘image’ lies a substantial loss of meaning.” The images he chooses are transformed and reframed, through photographic devices such as zooming in to create a close-up, blurring, or illumination. Often, his painted images have lower visibility than the photographs that they are based on – being pale, faded, monochromatic, muting the great drama of the original (such as a gas chamber in World War II).

Markus’s practice is almost the opposite of that of Tuymans. Although they both start from a photographic image and reconstruct it in the painting, Markus deliberately chooses a poor photographic image to begin with, devoid of any detail or drama, with a limited palette. In his paintings, he realizes the image in a number of ways: adding information to it – rich, garish, and stormy colors – or alternatively, turning it into black-and-white forms or to individual patches of color, a mere shadow of the original image. His multiple painting consists of detailed handicraft, an endless pursuit of a profusion of materializations, a continuous accretopm of meanings.

The more Markus deepened his scrutiny of the image, the more complex and intricate his work became. He began creating portraits based on it through drawing, monotype, and printing, then producing additional paintings based on these works, or from memory – which brought about an abstraction, draining, or disassembly of the image. At the same time, through the image’s myriad new guises, as he moved between figurative and abstract worlds and back again, the flat digital image became ever more layered, material, and complex. Thus, this body of work as a whole raises questions about memory and commemoration of a single figure, as well as questions pertaining to originality and creativity. Markus shows an interest in the conditions of the artistic creation, thereby uncovering new perspectives and revealing the absence of a fixed and defined essence. Every little detail creates the meaning for its
existence, autonomous and unique yet deficient and in constant flux.

Notes
1- Artist and essayist Hito Steyerl defines a poor image as one that is “a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.” Hito Steyerl, “In Defense of the Poor Image,” e-flux, no. 10 (November 2009), available at https://www.e-flux.com/journal/10/61362/in-defense-of-the-poor-image/ (accessed January 15, 2020).

2- Roman Opalka, “1 – ∞: Method Statement,” at Roman Opalka’s website, http://www.opalka1965.com/fr/statement.php?lang=en (accessed January 15, 2020). From 1968 onwards, Opalka began adding a selfie of himself – which he took at the end of each working day – beside the numbers, and a
recording of his voice reading out the numbers that he had painted.

3- Gerhard Richter, as quoted in Kaja Silverman, “On Painting from Photographs: The Painting of Modern Life: 1960s to Now, 2017,” in Fifty Years of Great Art Writing (London: Hayward Gallery, 2018), p. 359.

4- Ibid.

5- Iddo Markus in conversation with the author, August 2019.


6-Ariel Krill, “Tonality is a Complex Thing: Interview with Belgian Painter Luc Tuymans,” Erev Rav, June 18, 2015, https://www.erev-rav.com/archives/35757 (Hebrew).

7 -Luc Tuymans, La Pelle, ed. Caroline Bourgeois, exh. cat. (Venice: Palazzo
Grassi, 2019), pp. 15–16.


8 -Luc Tuymans, “On the Image,” in On & By Luc Tuymans, ed. Peter Ruyffelaere (London: Whitechapel Gallery/Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2013), p. 50.


                                   
Ruti Direktor

Text from : What To Do With Painting On The 21st Century
Haifa Museum of Contemporary Art /Israel/ 2011
 

A possible answer to the question posed by the title of the exhibition is to paint in small-scale. The miniature can have a liberating effect: the painting as a declared decorative object, defiantly seductive. The choice of the small-scale format involves a complete surrender of the painting to its essence as an object and a renunciation of its self-importance.
The risk is clear: not to be take seriously. This is an excellent starting point to begin to think anew about painting. In this non-prestigious territory, in a format that was once valued relative to its size, Iddo Markus creates for
himself working conditions freed from any expectations. In his studio, his tiny paintings are densely arranged on shelves. They rest in two rows, hiding each other like books in a bookshelf or artefacts in a store. In the studio, Markus also draws and paints on large surfaces, but in the exhibition he only displays his miniature works - over one hundred of them. The gazing eye continuously jumps from one to the other, not knowing where to stop. It seems as though Markus hurls this mass at us as if to attack the aura which exists around painting. Each painting exists by itself, but, of course, is also overshadowed by the quantity. The landscapes and the portraits may be so small - and so perfect, that they make the large painting seem ridiculous and single out the pathos involved in the act of standing before a large-scale format.


Michal Na'aman

Text for solo exibition 
Raw-art gallery/Tel Aviv, Israel / 2009

“Float like a butterfly sting like a bee “
 Muhammad Ali

Markus' work is intrinsic to the media considered traditional in current painting. However, the relations between his drawings and paintings are both unpredictable and stirring. His oil paint is a thickly smeared layer, a kind of cloudy colorful fogginess – light or dark. The drawing struggles to survive that layer, to cling to it, to brush it or prick it. The surprise lies in the ties created between the drawing elements and the thick paint strokes.
What Markus draws enfolds at times as pictorial olive trees or bushes and that same drawing system destroys itself and breaks down into chips and splinters of drawing particles, floating energetically like a linear, colorful, curving cloud moving hectically across space in a joyful energy provoked by this spectacle of color.
Obviously, this cloud is the outcome of a continuous and painstaking study of the drawing skill. A blinking of the eye and continuity act together as equal forces in this drawing system, created like a motion between fullness and emptiness. There is something incomplete which is crucial to the works along with a sense of bounty. Markus draws our attention to the fact that emptiness is needed so that fullness can subsequently occur.
Markus' drawings are signs hit against the greasy background, refusing to blend into it. Each greasy stroke is a kind of "spring-board" for the take off of another drawn cloud of blended notes which are related to notes and characters from writing and mathematics, of fragments of diagrams or of various objects.
Cy Twombly and his Israeli contemporary Raffi Lavie are cosmoses saluted festively by Markus thus indicating that the celebration is not over yet.


Dr. Shahar Marnin-Distelfeld

Iddo Markus is a multidisciplinary artist whose works consistently inviting us to explore the relationship between figuration and abstraction.
Between directness and enigma, between traditional and contemporary approaches towards painting and source material.

His multi-layered oil paintings installations, most of them are small scale to miniatures size, echo the artist's expressive interpretation of the moment, and the frenzied Mediterranean environment he lives in as a seismic factor in his intense work practice. 
A notion that brought Markus in recent years to create a body of work that is composed of many small fragments that make up dense installations.
Markus's works delve deeper beyond the mere representation of an object to question the visual language, These works create a dialogue between the canonical and the ephemeral, between art history, Photography and the endless flow of imagery that defines contemporary digital culture with autobiographical hints.




Text : Yotam Berner                  
Curator: Yaron Haramati 

Text from Family Matter exibition
Zemack  Gallery / Tel-Aviv / Israel / 2018
 
The year is 1979, it is late Spring, the Markus’s are living in Boston, Massachusetts and are about to return to Israel. They gather in the backyard for a family photo. The photo was taken from a high angle, which distorted the image of the family members in the photograph.

Almost forty years later, at his parent’s house, Markus found a box of old family photos, in the box he found this distorted group shot along with others from the same period. From the second he saw that family photo he couldn’t stop thinking about it, he began examining the ways in which the camera placement distorted a truthful image. Markus began creating many pieces of art inspired by the original photograph.
His works emphasized movement and rest, the individual within a group, and a single element of a photograph versus the singular product of a unified family photograph. While working on his studies of the figures, Markus began creating hundreds of paintings influenced by the family photograph.

The artist states that his project "is a wide range of works
that brings together a balance of the familial unit and the characters as individuals, simultaneously allowing each one to have its own place.” He continues by saying, “I know each of the characters, what has happened to them in their lives since 1979, some of them are no longer with us and this impacted how I painted them. Imagination and memory were important elements of my painting process. I made many sketches before and during this process which influenced the final work. Like any family, from a distance, everything looks normal but as you get closer it becomes more mysterious and complicated."

In the essay, "The Painter of Modern Life” by Baudelaire, he defines a realistic painter as one who paints from an immediate place and eternalizes an exact moment. This exhibition is made up of dozens of works comprised of drawings, paintings, and videos, each piece represents how an initial image can be explored over the course of time.

This is Markus’s first exhibition that originates from one single image. It debuts a shift that has taken place in his work from the last couple of years towards a profound exploration of color, form, and image while working with different variations of a single image, as opposed to his series that center around natural scenes or other common threads.

       
Tunty Chauhan

Text from solo show-For want of a nail
Threshold Art Gallery / New Delhi, India / 2012

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

The title for the show has been taken from an ancient proverb which has been around in variations over the centuries. It illustrates the fact that the God is in the smallest of details; neglecting the little things can tantamountto larger consequences. ‘For Want of a Nail’ is the perfect example for the butterfly effect, a tenet of chaos theory, which is used to describe how small changes to a seemingly unrelated thing or condition can affect larger, complex systems. Like the proverb, the artist started small .
Iddo Markus has dedicated himself to small-scale formats which have a liberating effect: the complete surrender of the painting to its essence as an object and a renunciation of its self-worth. He exhibits his miniature paintings, the sizes of which are over shadowed by the quantities of the works. Each individual piece makes for a beautiful landscape or a portrait, it is sensitive, delicate, and yet has a tactile quality to it, but collectively (over two hundred art works) like pieces from a jigsaw puzzle, can take the form of differing perspectives. The size of the wood-blocks, on which he paints, varies from less than an inch to ten inches.



                                                     ︎ 
יאיר שולביץ

טקסט מתוך תערוכת היחיד-סרפדים
2014 / גלריה יאיר / תל אביב , ישראל


עבודות המונוטייפ החדשות של עידו מרקוס מותירות תחושה חזקה של עקבות של הד לדבר מה שהיה, שחמק והותיר רק את צילו האסוציאציה הראשונית של צילום ישן או רישום קלאסי במסורת הרומנטית העולה כביכול מהעבודות עלולה להטעות. מבט נוסף מגלה את ההפרעה המובנית בהן, הן בנופים והן בפורטרטים. הנייר נראה מרוט ומתוך היופי צצה השריטה והחבלה.
המוטיבים הקלאסיים של נופים ודמויות עוברים טרנפורמציה: הדימויים העולים מהדמיון הם חסרי הגדרה ברורה, נזילים ומתפקדים יותר כתחושות והלכי נפש מאשר מקומות ואנשים מובחנים הלך רוח מהורהר ונוגה שורה על העבודות, כשהשימוש בשחור-לבן בלבד מעצים אותם.
הדמויות נראות כמגיחות מבעד לאפילה: מצד אחד נוכחותן חזקה, ומאידך הן נעלמות, מטושטשות, כמעט מחוקות.
הנופים לוקחים למחוזות רחוקים, עמומים, שכוחי אל וגם אם נוכחת בהם דמות, תחושת הניכור והמועקה נושבת מהם.
הקולאז'ים מכילים בתוכם מפגשים וחיבורים בלתי צפויים בין אמנים קלאסיים שונים, רפי לביא ורבים אחרים השתמשו ברפרודוקציות כמצע שעליו הוסיפו רכיבים נוספים כחלק מחילון הקלאסיקה.
במקרה של מרקוס מדובר בקולאז' מסוג שונה: על ידי קיפולים, מריטות וחיתוכים וללא התערבות ציורית, הוא מנכיח בהם אסתטיקה חדשה. הוא יוצר חיבור מקורי בין אמנים שונים ומוביל את הצופה לאופני מבט נוספים ביצירות.

העבודות של עידו מרקוס משלבות רגישות ועידון, המוכרים מעבודותיו הקודמות, אבל חושפות הפעם ביתר שאת ביטויים של עוצמה אקספרסיבית, שורטת וקודרת לצד רעננות וסקרנות תוך התנסות  במדיומים שונים.


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אירנה גורדון

  הביאנלה השישית לרישום
  בית האמנים / ירושלים / 2016 

הציור והרישום של עידו מרקוס הם מהלך חיים, הם משמשים אוויר לנשימה, מתרחשים כל העת. דמויות אניגמטיות או אולי דיוקנאות עצמיים, נופים אקספרסיוניסטיים, מחוות משחקי קיפולים של תצלומים הלקוחים מכתבי־עת או מספרים היוצרות דימויים חדשים, דמויות המצוירות לא מהתבוננות אלא מתוך מצב רוחו של האמן, מתוך החוויה הרגעית שלו. את כל אלה הוא מקבץ לקיר עמוס וסוער שכותרתו על הדרך (2016), המורכב מיצירות מיניאטוריות העשויות בטכניקות שונות — גרפיט, עפרונות צבעוניים, תחריט, קולאז', צבעי שמן. הנופים מופשטים, רובם מומצאים ומדומיינים, כך גם הדיוקנאות והדמויות. יותר מהדימוי עצמו מעניינת אותו האנרגיה האצורה בפעולת הרישום והציור, מערכת היחסים המפתיעה בין שדות צבע, בין האלמנטים הרישומיים לעומת משיחות הצבע הסמיכות. הוא מבקש להבין ולהשיג אופן רישום שאיננו תלוי באובייקט חיצוני, אלא מהווה מהלך פנימי הדורש השתהות, תנועת התבוננות אטית, כמו קולנועית .


יותם ברנר
אוצר: ירון הרמתי

טקסט מתערוכת היחיד עניין משפחתי
  גלריה זימאק / תל אביב /2018

בשנת 1979, בצהרי היום, בעת שהותה בשליחות מקצועית בבוסטון, מסצ׳וסטס, התכנסה משפחת מרקוס לצילום משפחתי בחצר הבית ימים ספורים לפני ששבו ארצה, כארבעים שנה אחרי שצולם ובאקראי מצא מרקוס את הצילום בבית הוריו לצד צילומים נוספים של משפחתו מתקופה זו. משהביט לראשונה בצילום המשפחתי, לא היה יכול להתעלם מקיומו, והחל לבחון את העיוות שנוצר עקב מיקום המצלמה. לפיכך החל מרקוס ליצור עבודות רבות מתוך אותה תמונה משפחתית, עבודות השמות דגש על תנועה ומנוחה, אינדיבידואל בתוך קבוצה, פרט בודד אל מול תמונה משפחתית במילותיו שלו, מרקוס אומר ש ״משקל רב הושם על איזון ויצירת טווח רחב אשר מלכד את הדמויות ומאידך נותן לכול אחת את מקומה. אני מכיר את כול הדמויות יודע מה עלה בגורלם מאז 1979, חלקם כבר לא אתנו וזה השפיע לעיתים על הדרך בה הם צוירו. הדמיון והזיכרון היוו חלק משמעותי בתהליך הציור וכמו כן סקיצות הכנה רבות אשר נעשו לפני ותוך כדי והשפיעו על הדרך בה הציור התקדם. כמו כול משפחה, מרחוק היא נראית נורמלית אבל ברגע שמתקרבים הדברים הופכים להיות מסתוריים ומסובכים יותר.״

בחיבורו ׳צייר החיים המודרניים׳ מגדיר בודלייר את הציור הראליסטי כציור המגיע ממקום מיידי, המעניק הנצחה מדויקת לרגע ספציפי. מיצב זה מורכב מעשרות עבודות הנעות בין רישום, ציור ווידיאו. כל אחת מהיצירות מהווה נקודה בדרך בה הדימוי הראשוני נחקר ומעובד
לאורך תקופה ארוכה ובעצם מדברות על פירוק ופחות על  הרכבה של רגע.זוהי תערוכתו הראשונה של מרקוס הנובעת מדימוי יחיד והיא מסמנת ומגלה לראשונה את התפנית שחלה בעבודתו בשנים האחרונות אל עבר החקירה המעמיקה בין צבע צורה ודימוי והתעסקות בווריאציות שונות על דימוי יחיד לעומת סדרה בעלת
אופי או קשר רעיוני מסוים


        
מיכל נאמן

טקסט מתערוכת יחיד , רישומים וציורים 2007-2009
גלריה רו-ארט/ תל אביב, ישראל/ 2009

לרקוד כמו פרפר, לעקוץ כמו דבורה
מוחמד אלי

היצירה של עידו מרקוס היא פנימית למדיומים שנחשבים למסורתיים בציור העכשווי, רישום וציור, אבל היחסים ביניהם מטלטלים ולא צפויים. צבע השמן הוא שכבה סמיכה, ענן,מין התאבכות צבעונית כהה או בהירה. הרישום מנסה לשרוד את השכבה, להיתלות עליה, להבריש אותה, להתארגן על פניה, לדקור אותה. ההפתעה היא ביחסים שנוצרים בין האלמנטים הרישומיים לעומת משיכות צבע סמיכות.מה שמרקוס רושם מתארגן לפעמים כתמונת נוף-עצי זית,שיחים, ואותה מערכת רישומית שוברת את הכלים של עצמה ומתפרקת לשבבים ורסיסים של בדלי רישום שצפים כמו ענן ססגוני קווי, פתלתל, ספיראלי באנרגטיות,בפיזוז או בהתרוצצות קדחתנית על פני המרחב באנרגיה שמעוררת את החדווה כתגובה לנוכח ההופעה של הססגוניות הזו. ברור שהענן שנוצר הוא גם תוצאה של עיון ועיסוק ממושך וסבלני של מלאכת הרישום.הרף העין והמשך פועלים ככוחות שקולים במערכת  שנוצרת.

הרישומים של מרקוס הם סימנים שנחבטים ברקע השמנוני ומסרבים להיבלע בו, כל מריחה שמנונית היא מין "קרש קפיצה" להמראתו של ענן רישומי ומעורבל של תווים שהם בני משפחה של תווים מממלכת הכתיבה והמספרים, של שברי דיאגראמות ושל שברי מתאר של אובייקט כזה או אחר.  סיי טוומבלי ובן דודו הישראלי רפי לביא הם יקומים שהציור של עידו מרקוס מצדיע לו  בגלל שהחגיגה עדיין לא נגמרה.