Bathers and Eyal Sasson’s System of Painting
During the last fifteen years, after graduating from Bezalel and later
Royal College of Art (RCA), the painter Eyal Sasson has dedicated
his work to a
deconstruction of the visual image. In each series of his paintings,
Sasson has put
together a set of principles he then employed for carrying out this
task, also the
of constructing the painting at the same time. In that vein, Sasson
images of forests into their respective red, green and blue
pixels, and confined
their natural wildness to the rules of digital
by applying subsequent thin layers
of acrylic paint which adds physical
depth as well
as materialistic memory
to the flat exposed image; distorted landscapes
by using the
principles of Camera Obscura and anamorphous technique,
undermine the impressionistic manners of the illusionary painting;
“black mirror” (also known as Claude Glass named after
artist Claude Lorraine)
to paint black, nocturnal, sceneries, where
the gaze is demanded to make an
effort in order to put together an image whose only bright parts are
In his oeuvre’s current episode, Sasson returns to “The
Bathers” – one of the most
central themes in art history.
Furthermore, the Moderna has given a significant role
to the bathers,
within which they were chosen to serve as the
(classic and familiar)
platform for developing painterly languages,
artistic approaches and revolutionary
Yet, Sasson’s work does neither revere a modern ideal which
aims to obtain essences through painterly systems taken
towards the bathers,
nor suggests a post-modern strategy designated
to undermine essences or ideas.
painting is self-reflective, and as such, it is solely responsible
raise its rationale from within, as well as to align with its
own doctrine’s principles.
In the past, Sasson’s painting practice was conducted under
an analytic set
of rules, as in the example of reduction to R.G.B.
colors, or anamorphic
deformation. Now on the other hand, we are presented
with a series of
paintings whose principles are
less rationalistic and more fluidic, let alone
watery and aquatic.
The present painterly system, if then, is dictated by the
themselves, and they, from their part, are asking to dip, dive, bathe,
wash, to be reflected, take the form of water, to blend in.
In this current example,
the bather is an agent of a watery painting
system which may bring up questions
such as: what occurs
when a bather leaps into a bluish spot? How is it possible
over a greencolored field upon purple rocks? And what if
the colors of the
sky, colors of man and earth, and colors of water,
would suddenly switch roles?
Can a pond be yellow?
How a bather is painted and alternately, how is a
painting “bathed” – meaning, how will a painting,
when placed in a watery system,
behave? And in the broader sense:
how does human nature fit
In his last solo exhibition, not only continues Sasson’s formalistic
in the language of painting including the formal
challenges with which he
chooses to confront, but also expresses the
connection between man and
nature – a subject which
runs like a thread throughout his entire oeuvre.
In particular, Sasson
primarily relates the alienation surrounding man in nature,
the estrangement of man observing nature, and at the end of the day,
uncovers the distance which prevails any sense
of belonging between the two.
Furthermore, there is not a single image
of the sun found in this exhibition, yet
Sasson has chosen
to title it “Deceiving Sun”, particularly in this context
and nature relations – referring the sun as having a human characteristic:
a “deceiving” sun that does not spread heat, amidst “deceiving”
who allegedly enjoy staying around nature, under the sun,
a lying sun.
Ron Bartos, 2015