The Zurich Gallery Kunstsichtbar is hosting the first official dinner in my Swiss-wide art project “Abendmahl”. here is a short interview with the gallerists:
In short words, what’s going to happen on the 17th
The Concept is simple the gallery and I invite people to join us for a dinner, the dinner will take place at the gallery and I’ll document this dinner with a large painting.
This dinner is part of a bigger project you call “Abndmahl”, can you tell me about it? What’s the idea behind it?
Simply described, I am in the process of creating dinners like the one on the 17th all over Switzerland. In the end, I want to create an installation with all the works done and create a community with art. So, imagine that you have a big space with around 15-20 large works depicting around 150 people having dinner together.
So in the border scene, the individual works will show the creation of a clan or a family and by putting all these different clans together I aim to create a space where a community can be immersed.
What is the idea behind this?
It all started with a project on the topic of intimacy where I painted couples in the gallery and asked them about their meaning of intimacy. In essence, what the project brought up to me was that for most couples “intimacy” is formed through challenges and hard work, mostly patience, to one another but equally important to oneself in the presence of their partner.
This led to a very big question: will our children be able to reach this level of patience and endurance that is needed, to not only reach intimacy but also maintain and uphold it?
In the talks with the couples, I realized that in the face of ever-growing digitalization and the omnipresent swipe-left-mentality, this question steers up many more questions on our culture and society in general.
So, when you (the gallery) asked me what my next project would be, I knew that I wanted to focus on a very similar question: Will we as a society be able to bring up the patience and endurance that is needed, not only to create a community but also maintain an uphold it?
This question haunts me since then I must admit.
What does a “dinner” have to do with it why food? how does the “Last Supper” connect with it? `
The way I see it, breaking bread or sharing a meal with other people is one of the most basic ways of forming a community. It is in our DNA and as old as our existence. If not for the “spiritual” sense then from a practical sense. Hunting or even making a fire are things that needed a lot of energy we needed to form alliances only to create these. Sharing the food and forming a community followed automatically.
So, by creating “dinners” I want to remind us of that feeling, we need each other we are, and even if we don’t like it our life deepened on each other.
What’s the connection to the biblical “Last Supper”?
It is marketing, thanks to Da Vinci`s painting that everybody knows and a story that many people can remember so most people religious or not can in some way or another relate to it. I like the concept that Jesus creates a Family and a community with this “supper”. As a Jew, the ritual of “breaking bread” is rooted in my personal story, without it I don’t know if I would have used the “Last Supper” story. I am not trying to follow the religious story but to use the symbolism and visual idea behind it.
That’s why I call the project “Abendmahl” and not “Das Abendmahl” it is a dinner but not “The” dinner.
In the past your projects had a very “Inclusive” underline and if I might add also “diversity” notion to them, is this touch reflected in this project as well?
For me “diversity” is a reality, and “inclusion” is a necessity that without it we are at risk of losing our humanity. But I never focus on them as goals or motives for my projects, it is not interesting for me, especially since these words have become marketing slogans or mantras to pray on.
In this project, more than before I’m focusing on all of us from the start so the invitation is to participate, but I’m not going to specifically focus on this or that group and I’m not planning to “run” after anyone. I have a very diverse and multifaceted Network and I hope that as that in all its parts, someone will hear a calling to join.
It’s time to shut our phones off and to come together, as adults, not to be insulted and to shout or sulk. We got to wake up and start talking to each other again. With dignity, humbleness, and respect. Everyone should have a seat at the table.
Painting one person is a challenge that many won’t take on, how are you going to paint all 13 at once?
Until a few weeks ago when I was able to do a general rehearsal in a privet setting, I didn’t know that either. But simply explained, I am relying on my long-year experience of painting people face to face in very diverse settings and drawing my 3 daughters while they are playing.
Modern art and myself give me the freedom to look and be conscious of each individual but at the same time, I have to see him or her as a part of the group. There is no individual without the common and there is no common without the individual. So, you can expect to recognize yourself but don’t expect me to make you pretty.
Impressions out of the first Abendmahl that took place on 23.9.23
So, you can expect to recognize yourself but don’t expect me to make you pretty.
You mentioned that you intend to host this “Abendmahl” more than one time, do you have other dates:
Yes, I’m in contact with a few locations such as culture centers, museums, and churches around Switzerland to host these events. And I’m happy to say that I have to more locations more dates will come up soon.