The “Not knowing”

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having a very pleasant conversation with Magdalena Kurpierz and her team. We were planning a “communion” event to be held at the premises of Kvalito Consulting, Magdalena’s company in #Basel.

The conversation was relaxed and productive and I had a very uplifting feeling, until one question threw me for a loop. The question was about the final exhibition of my art project “The Last Supper” and its future location, which is completely understandable. However, what made me stutter was my answer – “I don’t know”.

I discovered “not knowing” as a tool in my first steps as a painting and art teacher. I had many students who knew much more than I did and painted better than I did. Their questions and obstacles always motivated me to try out and learn something new. But I rarely admitted that I “didn’t know” something. I “had” to know, I was the teacher after all.

Over the years, I have realized that this attitude is perhaps due to my cultural background. The men in my family and region (Israel/Middle East) just “knew” things. Admitting that you “didn’t know” something was not part of being a man and was rarely used in the general culture of conversation, whether the knowledge was there or not.

My first self-realization on this subject came from a picture I painted. I planned this painting for several months in advance and made several sketches with a model specifically chosen for this painting. On the day of painting, everything was perfectly organized and I was ready – I knew what to do. But within the first few minutes of painting I made a mistake and painted a shin wrong, I couldn’t fix that little mistake.

It was so bad that after almost two months (almost a year’s work in total) I had to give up and destroy the painting. In doing so, however, I realized that I had not included a clear element that had been part of my working method up to that point.

In my current #artproject “Communion” I am very often confronted with this element and in some moments I feel like I don’t know anything at all, which can turn into a rollercoaster of emotions depending on the day. But so far, every time I come back to my center after such a roller coaster day, I know that what I’m doing is right and even if it’s not always how I envision it, the project is progressing and doing what it’s supposed to do – bring people together!

Thank you Team Kvalito Consulting Group for giving me the space to not know!

I’m looking forward to working with you and to the “Abendmahl” in Basel !

Abendmahl

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.

Would you like ot support this Art-Proejct ?

Art, Breaking Bread, and what a Community has to with it?

Do you know that feeling?

That you are doing what you were meant to do.

That all the things you did up to now were here for you to do exactly what you are doing right now.

It’s a rare feeling and I can say for my part, that I felt like that only a few times in my life. But Saturday 23.9.23 was one of these times. A good friend invited 13 people, for a Supper, which became the starting point for a new #Art project.

If you can remember over the past decade, I’ve focused on exploring the concept of “community” and the artist’s role within it. Through artistic #collaborations with various sub-communities and subcultures, I’ve aimed to promote their inclusion in broader conversations. Some of the social groups I’ve worked with include Russian and Ukrainian mothers, adults with autism, Syrian refugee children, Swiss women leaders, and Belarusian #LGBTQ individuals, as well as people with dementia.

These art projects had a direct side effect of allowing all participants to share an intellectual/spiritual experience through art informally. This often resulted in a strengthened sense of personal self-awareness, which led to a constructive event if often only momentarily feeling of unity. This feeling became my primary motivation for creating art.

At the beginning of this year, inspired by an article that explained that: When a couple sits together with their smartphones on, their brain actually sends a feeling of loneliness. Hence, they are actually lonely even when they are together.

I took an old idea and worked on an “intimacy” #project, portraying couples and asking them what intimacy means to them.

A key question that emerged from the project was:

·      Will our children achieve the same intimacy that we can in the face of digital media and AI overflow?

·      Will they even be able to muster the patience and perseverance that is necessary to make a steadfast relationship possible?

The developments in the field of #AI over the past year and the deeper insight into our general relationship with #technology that I have gained through the “intimacy” project have paved the way for the start of an “Abendmahl” (Supper) art project.

“Abendmahl” is intended to explore the creation of a community through art. From the creation of small family cells through a Supper Event with 13 people, to the common self-perception of a community with 150 members, which is very diverse but has a clear – even if only artistic and cultural – common denominator.

In other words, if in the past, I focused on the importance of the single individual person in society this time around I’m focusing on society and what can unite us from the start.

The concept is simple:

In reference to the story of the “Last Supper of Christ” and its artistic traditions through the millennia, 13 people are invited to a supper. In an art action that moves between performance, and installation this «supper» is captured with a painting in all its facets as timely as possible.

These events, called “Abendmahl”, are repeated multiple times throughout Switzerland with new guests until around 150 people have been painted.

As I mentioned earlier this “Supper” last month, was only the Start. There are already Three more events are already planned and more in the planning. As in my past projects, I’m going to try to include all of Switzerland. So, focusing not only on the big cities but also rural areas like (Trogen AR 10.2.2024) and all language areas (Locarno Mai-June 24)

The next one will be in Zurich in the Kunstsichtbar gallery on Friday 17.11.23. it will be the official start of the project with a vernissage and a weeklong activity in the gallery the following week.

What it means to you should you want to join: Seating and heaving a Friday night Dinner with other people, during which, you will be painted as a group, as a community. The whole process will take around 3-4 hours and you won’t have to sit still all the time, it’s a dinner after all.

Would you like ot support this art-proejct?

Do you want more information? Just ask.

The Art of Business Plan (not a tutorial)

Last weekend I was invited to a birthday party of a Gallerist Friend, apart from the lovely scenery and the fact that it was the first time since my youngest daughters joined us that I could go to such an event it was an uplifting event.

But mainly for one specific talk with a fellow artist, after me, telling him that “I plan to keep my path of art and focus on social topics”, bluntly provoked me by saying that an artist needs to challenge himself to reach a new limit every time, to boldly go where he had never been before. It wasn’t a great revelation and I wanted to diminish it. But there and then I realized that this time around I’m already doing it differently.

For the first time in my artistic career, I sat for the two weeks prior to this talk and (drum roll) wrote a business plan for an art project.

Writing a business plan for an art project was never on my mind before that, it was something I hoped would get sorted in the end and sometimes it even did. To some extent for a long time, I thought that I was doing one but it was all in my head. I didn’t know it doesn’t count until at one point during the last part of Lipstick Leaders the sensei/guru herself Georgette Vun shouted at me – “You didn’t write a business plan?!?”.

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100 Portraits 100 Leader 100 Women – “Lipstick Leaders” premier, June1.2018, Zurich

Even then it took me way too long till I dared myself to do one, so the one that I did do was in retrospect a few weeks after the initial show (1.6.2018). Let me tell you it was gloomier than you might expect. It was depressing I was in enormous debt after this project and if had to pay myself a salary it would have been much more significant.

But this time from my own device I set down in advance, like an adult, and did a “business plan”!

Since it was more intuitive than intentional, I had to ask myself why am I doing it this time so differently. At first, I thought, I had done it because I’m of “growing up” (which is also true) but then I realized that it all has to do with what I aim to follow with this new Art project.

In short; in my past projects, I focused on parts of society and created a space where these parts can be included too. This time I’m focusing from the start on society as a whole. I want to build a community with Art.

The first set of numbers I crunched showed me that on its own this project is out of my financial league. I had to take a break only to overcome the idea that I couldn’t do it. But then I realized that I only wrote the costs of the Project but not how I wanted to finance it.

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Mix Technique (Oil Pastels, Aquarelle, Graphite) on Paper 21x29cm 2016

This process required also a few days as I wanted to be realistic but not without hope or ambition. Which proved itself much harder than you might imagine (When was the last time you bought original Art?).

But in addition to that it was actually a very big personal transformational step for me. It was the first time that included a salary for myself and a realistic profit margin that when achieved I could invest in future projects.

Through writing these lines I realized, that through working on the business plan I started to create this future community with a clear and clean intention, with no illusions.

Truth. 

I want to create a “Truth” based community.

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Out of the concept of my new Art project “Das Abendmahl” that will follow the creation of a Community

Since by now you are probably asking yourself what this project I am talking about, here is a small taste :

“Imagine a large hall with 10-12 large pictures framed in dark, heavy wooden frames on the walls. The images differ in color and style but unite in theme and story. They show 13 people who had come together to break bread with strangers and to share communion. 12 stories of encounters and discussions, one story of a supper that brought them together. – a community. ”    

      let me know what you think      

Abendmahl (The Supper)

Art project that brings people together

Imagine a large hall with 10-12 large pictures framed in dark, heavy wooden frames on the walls. The images differ in colour and style, but unite in theme and story. They show 13 people who had come together to break bread with strangers and to share communion. 12 stories of encounters and discussions , one story of a supper that brought them together. a community.                   

               a Clip out of the “Abendmahl” event that took place at the Kvalito consulting offices in Basel 16.05.24

For the last 10 years, I have been dealing with the topic of “community” and the role of the artist in the community. This was done by working artistically with sub-communities or subcultures, thereby enabling their inclusion in the general discussion. “Subcultures”/social groups I have worked with include Russian and Ukrainian mothers, adults with autism, Syrian refugee children, Swiss women leaders, Belarusian LGBTQ, and people with dementia.

A direct side effect of these art projects was the possibility of an informal shared intellectual experience through art with all participants. This often resulted in a strengthened personal self-awareness, which led to a constructive “we-feeling”. For me personally, this feeling became the main motivation for my art.

The series of projects mentioned was brought to a halt by the corona pandemic. After a break of almost three years, I was able to visualize a new art project in early February 2023:

Inspired by an article that explained that: When a couple sits together with their smartphones on, their brain actually sends a feeling of loneliness, so they are actually lonely even when they are together. I took an old idea and worked on an “intimacy” project, portraying couples and asking them what intimacy means to them.

Inspired by an article that explained that: When a couple sits together with their smartphones on, their brain actually sends a feeling of loneliness, so they are actually lonely even when they are together. I took an old idea and worked on an “intimacy” project, portraying couples and asking them what intimacy

L und C Mix Media on Paper 60x80cm , 2023

A key question that emerged from the project was whether our children could achieve the same intimacy that we can in the face of digital media and AI deluge. If they could even muster the patience and perseverance that is necessary to make a steadfast relationship possible?

The developments in the field of AI over the past few months and the more profound insight into our general relationship with technology that I have gained through the project have paved the way for the start of a new art project that I feel is of great urgency.

“Abendmahl” is intended to pursue the emergence of a congregation through art. From the creation of small family cells through the small communion process with 13 people, to the common self-awareness of a church with 150 members, which is very diverse but has a clear – if only artistic-cultural – common denominator.

“Abendmahl – in privaten Rahmen”
(Supper – in a privet setting)
88x176cm mix technique on canvas
was created during the painting session that was organized by supporters of the project on
September 23erd 2023

Here you can read the full concept: Abendmahl (The Supper) Concept in French

The project should address two main questions:

How are communities formed?

Will we be able to form or sustain a community under the influence of AI and the increasingly advanced “communication tools”?

Whether the project can actually create a community remains to be seen. However, the project was intended to bring people together both on the ground level and on the meta-level, both in the context of the smaller “Last Supper” events and in the context of the final installation.

The basic idea:

By painting different group pictures with 13 people each and putting them together to form an installation, a community with 120-150* members is created with the help of art.

Concept:

In reference to the story of the “Last Supper of Christ” and its artistic traditions through the millennia, 13 people are invited to supper. In an art action somewhere between performance and installation, this «last supper» is captured in all its facets as quickly as possible.

Such “Das Abendmahl”* events are repeated throughout Switzerland, each time with new guests, until a total of around 150 people have been painted (i.e. 10-12 times).**

By means of an installation of the various “Das Abendmahl” pictures and an event where all participants can come together, a new community will ultimately be created and celebrated through art.

Fundamentalism

While digging through and sorting out Material, and looking for the right stuff to create content with (I’m a slave of the machine). I encountered old Fotos from a Foto-session that friends of mine did with and for me. We took Pictures of works out of my first “Art-Project”.

In addition, I had an inspiring talk with Daniel Perez Whitaker about his current goals and a very interesting new Interview series he plans to do. We talked about many things but what was left with me was a sense of a Personal necessity to back to my artistic roots and fundaments. What moves me? How do I create? How do I approach my Projects?

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For the first 10 Years of my career, I was mainly teaching and showing my art in every possible way. Today I know that I was only training, mastering skills, and figuring out my path in and around Art. It’s not only the craftmanship per se that needs endless practice but also how to speak about my art, how to present it, and how to take it seriously but not too personally. But I never focused solemnly on painting, there was just so much other stuff to learn…

And then came “The God Project”: It was after a long break and after experimenting with new styles (abstract) but also from very encouraging encounters that I started to look again at going back to my roots and painting people or Life painting as it is usually known. I attended open drawing sessions and was getting the hang of it again but it was too confined to structural and not deep enough. And then in a talk with a Lover, in bed late at night we talked about the concept of God (as you do). She said that for her God was a “big black Woman, with big heavy breasts”. I don’t know what moved me so much in that sentence but there and then I knew that I had to paint that “God”. It wasn’t a challenge calling a jest or a goal setting. It was more a child-like open-hearted decision: this is what I’m going to do!

Secured with my experience with approaching models for my classes and knowing that I had a good reputation around that topic. I decided to approach three Women in my network that fitted the personality and physique needed for the part. I got a very fast Yes from one of them and we set up a time to meet in person to talk details.

In our Talk a few weeks later she told me she was in her first stages of pregnancy. For me and for her that was a big confirming “go ahead” sign for the project. We set some dates for the painting sessions and decided that we will take as near as possible to her due date.

I had a very clear idea of what I wanted the poses to be like; God was standing with all her capacity looking forward, powerful and mighty!

On the day of our first session, she came in and said that she can’t stand for too long and would like to sit or lie down. There and then I realized that it was my time to learn and listen to what “God” wants and do as I was told. What followed was around 5 months of regular sessions of “God” coming into my Livingroom taking her close off, resting on my couch, and cracking jokes. I was able to create numerous works, experimenting with materials and flexing my craftmanship. The God Project brought out a softer side of me that I didn’t know was there. Some work out of this series was eventually shown in a small museum and are very dear to me since then. 

This Project set some premises for my artistic work after that and gave me a glimpse of what is possible for me. Working on the God project was exhilarating a playful but also very serious in the scenes where we both had a look at our humanity and our fundaments. Some years after in a talk I gave about my art, one of the guests said that when I talked about this project I sound like a “fundamentalist of Art”. This stuck with me I liked it.   

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The Budget question

How do you Start your Art-projects, how do you define your budgets for them?

It is not every day that someone asks me questions like these it’s not every day that I ask myself questions like that. When Ruzbeh asked me these very questions on a long overdue lunch the other week it provoked me to sit down and write it down.

Art projects start themself; I have around 5or6 different Art-projects flying around in my head they are some time, to overlapping topics and often they are also similar in their intention. They come and go and if one of them pops up too many times I’ll write it down. But even before that, I’ll talk about them with different people on different occasions. Apart from the feedback I get, doing this makes me listen to how I’m talking about them.  It helps me understand what I want to say with this Art-project and deepens my understanding of what’s “at stake” for me in it.

The last point is maybe the most important one, if I can’t pinpoint the most personal core motivation that moves me to initiate this Art-project, it usually won’t work in the long run. This core motivation can be sometimes superficial and even stay in contrast with the “result” or outcome of the Art-project. But without it, there is usually no project.

With time I learned that this process enables me to spar with my Ego and free myself from the judgment and self-doubt that come with creating art and will appear for sure at one point during the work process.

After doing this comes the step of the “three Yes`s”. I need a specific OK from my environment for example OK from models/subjects to participate, Ok for Location, and more than often financial OK. From the moment of getting these OK`s its usually hard work and if I’m lucky a lot of painting.

As to the budget question (how do you define your budgets for them) …

The easy way to describe it is; I don’t, or if I would want to go easy on myself in most cases I don’t. But I am starting to. As the Art projects I’m focusing on are getting more attention and my level of my craftsmanship raises (getting older) I have no way around it.

The next Art project that I intend to work on, has already a gallery, a location, and a date set. But in the last few weeks, I realized partly due to talks I had and partly from a deep feeling that emerges more than I would love to admit, that this one is a bit more urgent and bigger than it originally seemed to be.  So apart from the obvious budget points like – Martials, Rent, PR, F&B, Vernissage, and salaries (with age I learned the hard way that this point includes my salary too) I need to figure out in the coming time how I want to present the project in the first place.

And this is the tricky part. Because I relay want to do this project no matter the cost…

But here comes: I need to do it in order to sustain this one and create the space for it to impact and grow as I have the feeling it ought to.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes 😊

Old Road, New Path

Working on my website for some months now. Looking at my past, scrutinizing projects, and evaluating them. And then a tedious sometimes painful process of asking myself;

Why am I doing this (Art)? Do I want to do this? And if so; how do I want to do it? And then adjusting it reforming and crystalizing what I want to say and do in the coming future. And then realizing that I have done this process many times before.

But this time it seems more urgent, there is more at stake for me here.

What started in a journey to Kyiv at the end of 2013 with a project depicting Ukrainian and Russian Mothers, got me to Belarus to work on an LGBTQ project and portray refugee children on the Turkish-Syrian border. This journey took me also to high places, portraying Women leaders in the castles of power, and then was brought to an abrupt end in 2020 with covid19 and a shattered Pop-Art project about displaced Women.

I thought that I was done with art on a professional level. I have done my share of the limelight and even got paid for it. It was good while it lasted and it was time to settle down, learn a decent profession, and grow a family (both I did: Three daughters and I’m a certified Social Care Worker now).

But as it often happens in my life at the moment, when I think can let Art go, it will just smile and let me do my thing and then slap me in the face and wake me up. During the last months of 2022, I got depressed and was officially burned out. This wasn’t out of the blue but it took me by surprise in its magnitude.

As often happens in my life during the same time an Art door was opened and I got a free hand to work on a new project. Little did I know that this project has set the premise for my next journey.

Inspired by an Article that explained that: when a couple sits together with their Smartphones on, their Brains are actually transmitting loneliness, so even if they are together, they are in fact lonely. I picked up an old idea and worked on a Project about “intimacy” portraying couples and asking them about what dose intimacy means to them.

Painting these unions, and seeing them in their “intimacy” brought me back to Art as understood it; “Serving the Tribe”. The developments in the AI front and the deeper look at our relationship with technology that I gained through the project, cleared the path for the new journey to start.

In the Time to come, in a series of Projects, I will be focusing on the questions:

How do communities form?

Will we be able to form or maintain a community under the influence ever advanced “communication tools” and AI?

In an attempt to go after this question my next stop will be in November, where I’ll be painting a contemporary live version of the “Last Supper”. The basic idea is to invite 13 guests for dinner and paint them while they are following the ancient tradition of creating a communal bond and “Break-Bread” together.

Thank you for reading so far, more info will come soon…

Lipstick Leaders 2016-2019

Lipstick Leaders, a leaders portrait series

On the 1st of June 2018 Daniel Eisenhut’s “Lipstick Leaders” premiered at The Kraftwerk in Zurich. The concept for which was first conceived in October of 2016. The idea was to look at leadership in the most authentic way, and to present this vision to the public, without political agenda. When Daniel Eisenhut thought of leaders, he thought of women. Without hesitation or afterthought, for him there was a clear connection between the two. In this connection, he saw the idea for an art project. He would create an installation reminiscent of the walls of the past that were, as per tradition, covered with the portraits of prominent men. Austere portraits the focus of which were prestige and authority, rather than aesthetic beauty. This time the wall would be covered with women who so naturally took on varying positions of leadership.

Of course, as with any project, once it expands beyond the space of the artist’s mind it takes on its own life. Once open to the scrutiny of others, questions, and critiques flow in. One such question Daniel Eisenhut faced with regularity was: “why women?” The association of women in leadership is not one that has always been automatic in our society. Yet the purpose of the project was not to prove that women could be leaders, but that they already are.

Growing up Daniel Eisenhut saw plenty of strong female leaders. During his time in the Israeli army, the vast majority of those training to be military leaders were women. Eisenhut witnessed first-hand the strength and determination of these women, and it further cemented in his mind the symbiosis of femininity and leadership.

Growing up Daniel Eisenhut saw plenty of strong female leaders. During his time in the Israeli army, the vast majority of those training to be military leaders were women. Eisenhut witnessed first-hand the strength and determination of these women, and it further cemented in his mind the symbiosis of femininity and leadership.

“Why ‘lipstick’”, was the question that most often followed when people heard the title of the project. “Lipstick” was added to the title of this project rather ironically. The idea was to subvert the idea of women as merely beautiful. While cosmetics are often associated with external beauty, they can also be used to draw attention. The mouth is highlighted in these otherwise colourless portraits, and the onlookers are thus called upon to listen to what she has to say.

During the drawing sessions, Daniel Eisenhut interviewed each woman. Asking questions about her approach to leadership, her ideas of what leadership meant, and allowing space for each leader to tell her own story. Some women focused on their upbringing and beginnings, while others focused on their current careers and how the world viewed them in these roles. Each woman had a chance to speak and be listened to. All the while Eisenhut drew them as they presented themselves, and the result were serious, headshot like portraits, for the most part unsmiling. A streak of lipstick over their mouths, simultaneously reminding the viewer that these women have something to say, and that there is beauty in seriousness.

For the portraits Daniel Eisenhut chose what he believes to be humanity’s most prevalent and primal substance: charcoal. He employed the use of carbon-based charcoal to create portraits that would serve to connect us all in our humanity. Afterall we are all made of carbon. This medium, combined with the presentation of the works at The Kraftwerk Gallery, draws a clear line between primitive cave paintings from our past and the portraiture of prominent figures in our present. Society is key in perceiving these business-like portraits, in observing how women in leadership roles are perceived, and in how they present themselves. Daniel Eisenhut uses charcoal to remind us that we are humans first and that our society is what brings us together, just as cave paintings and campfires have done since the dawn of socialization.

Coming up to the show (June 1st, 2018) I got invited by Ana Aaria Montero to her show to talk about the project.

Daniel Eisenhut created “Lipstick Leaders” as an attempt to bring the pack back together. So often we focus only on our differences. The “lipstick” that makes some less serious than others. The high position that raises one above and away from the rest. The desire to be seen, heard, and understood is something that we all feel. “Lipstick Leaders” takes these often-opposing ideas of vanity and hard work, of female and business, of cave-painting and headshot, and brings them together to make a point. A multitude can be contained in each and every one of us. A portrait can be both black and white and colour. A woman can have a career and be a mother. Charcoal can be both primitive and revolutionary. Lipstick can be both beautiful and serious, subtle, and urgent, superficial, and profound.

By reminding us that many things can be true at once, that “and” is often more authentic than “but”, Daniel Eisenhut’s “Lipstick Leaders” is about so much more than maybe assumed at first glance. It is about women. It is about leadership. It is about society, history, and humanity. It puts a specific part of society on display and shows one part in a new light to remind us that we are a whole. Each portrait so obviously belongs to the same series, is uniform in its likeness to the next, and each woman is her own person at the same time. Each story is different, and there is a thread that runs from one to the next and through us all as humans.

After the initial show at The Kraftwerk Gallery in Zurich, Daniel Eisenhut has continued to portray and interview women in leadership roles. Over 150 portraits have been created over the years, and they have been displayed in various forms in multiple cities throughout Switzerland. Each exhibit allows the project and portraits to be seen in new ways. Art, and individuality, and community intersect at each event, and in every space, people are brought together.

When Daniel Eisenhut first set out to begin the “Lipstick Leaders” project, he received unwavering support from his men’s group. The belief these men had in his project confirmed Daniel Eisenhut’s idea that “Lipstick Leaders” could be a place of convergence for society. The women leaders were part a vast community and could be authentically portrayed as such. They were not seen as as opposition or outsiders, but rather were welcome as part of our society’s leaders.

Intim

From Friday to Sunday, February 3 – 5, 2023 Under the motto “Intim” I have portraited of couples in the “Kunstsichtbar” gallery.

Ulterior motive

Intimate: Following intimacy with my art is a long-cherished wish of mine. Above all, the question «how is intimacy captured/shown in my work? ». Can I see it? How is my perception reflected in the picture? This is thought outside of the usual pictorial compositions that are art historically intended for romance and “love relationships”.

L and S – Mixed Media on Paper 60x80cm 2023

In a past attempt to start such a project, I asked an acquainted mother of three how intimacy reflect in her relationship. She said, «When me and my husband watch a movie, each in his corner of the sofa and between us a big bowl of popcorn ».

This image intrigued me because it contrasted with any pictorial idea of ​​intimacy. When I sat down to write the current project version, this sentence was brought back to my consciousness. I don’t want to see the idea or the cliché about intimacy I want to see the true simple or complex reality.

This image intrigued me because it contrasted with any pictorial idea of ​​intimacy. When I sat down to write the current project version, this sentence was brought back to my consciousness. I don’t want to see the idea or the cliché about intimacy I want to see the true simple or complex reality.

Interviews

In addition to portraying the couples, I asked the what “Intimacy” means for them.

The Videos are the outcomes of the interviews, they are all in Swiss-German and German in time ill add a translation.   

Intim – Konzept – Concept