Untitled, 2007, oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm, courtesy of the artist and Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv, photo: Elad Sarig
Many of Oren Eliav's paintings feature grotesque elements. The painted characters - mostly men - bring to mind politicians, men of governance and bureaucracy - they are cumbersome, mundane, somehow Eastern European-looking figures. Their body language is filled with pathos and their bodies seem to have been effaced, erased and fudged until losing their very humanity and corporeality. In these paintings, the body has become a kind of horrific, ridiculous ghost, a parable of existential loneliness in an estranged world. The features of the face and especially its orifices (the eyes, the mouth and the nose) seem to fade as if lit internally and effaced. The figures' grotesque qualities are highlighted through their facial expressions and their frozen smiles. The flat, dark painted background heightens the dreamlike tragicomic atmosphere. Eliav defines his painterly action as the uncovering of the paintings' subconscious. The vagueness and ambiguity that lies at the heart of the grotesque is indeed the basis of his painting.
Born in Tel Aviv, 1975; lives and works in Tel Aviv