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Published in the catalogue of David Israel: The damned happiness, Casa Velázquez, Madrid, 2006

Advance and breath, or the damned happiness of David Israel.

I write about a series of very red works. Instead of sticking to an outline of ideas, I'd rather delve into them using intuition as a tool. That is, I formulate arguments based in my orientation sense, without following a pre-established route. I consider it a suitable method, because it's an attempt to harmonize with the feeling and gestures of David Israel. During my "excavation", some false exits came up, possible argumental lines that don't seem to take anywhere. These exits are basically mental, and they've ended up giving way to a more organic approach that wants to be closer to the thorax than to the brain.

First false exit: art history.
In front of these red works we can recall, let's say, Lucio Fontana. There are his cut and perforated surfaces (concepti spaziali), his use of Murano glass in the 50's and his black light environments in the 70's. Then we could draw an easy parallel with La Granja glass and the use of fluorescent light. Simple, isn't it? Not much productive, though. Next, why not to resort to color field painting? Specifically, the resemblance with
certain shapes used by Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, a colour close to Mark Rothko and even the simple gesture of Cy Twombly. But I beleive that Israel has taken very little into account these authors. He belongs to a tradition of Spanish artists, although it won't explain his work anyway. If we still fall into temptation, we can also think about the use of materials of Richard Serra and arte povera, both present more than once in our conversations. Let's not follow this way.

Second false exit: biography.
The fact is that I know anecdotes and details of David Israel's life: we're friends, although we met because of professional reasons. We're both very connected to our countries of origin, I'm aware of his trips and I even know the places where he grew up. But this information is not necessary to approach to any author's work. We must not let this happen, here the important are the works. Let's just say that this artist doesn't ever forget what he is, because he is evolving fully aware.

A breath. Let's scratch again.

Hard material. Touch material. Nothing so compact to prevent us from entering through the crevices. Intense caress turns into graze. Happiness? Yes, but along with its other face, as usual. We must follow, even in front of hardness: advance as the only truly vital action. An advance is a succession of departure points, paradoxically, a continual return to one's references. Being very disciplined, Israel doesn't forget his origin while constantly intends to develope it, to turn that first point into a vector. It is a creative way not to forget, but not in order to hold something or just to call memory, but to re-make its matter. To breath. Breathing makes living possible, to inhale and to exhale, filling to be able to empty. To advance is to be emptied, works are exhalations. Israel says that he travels in order to gather what he pours afterwards into his works, while he underlines in a book by María Zambrano: "When we think a void [of time] is made."

How to overlook the physical activity involved in these works? Both arms dance with the tool, draw moods, intimacy, detachment. Red is a temperature. Action, movement, improvisation. Rather than a plan, there are some conditions to throw oneself into. It's possible to move back, to take a run up and attack the work again. Even accumulation allows to display a rythm, a trance that puts off reasoning, pure action. To think and to act are consecutive ways to guarantee continuity and evolution.

Tiredness comes: pause.

Colour, as an expression of light, works here thanks to shadows. Such a uniform red makes sense when it faces darkness -rather than white space-, then it jumps, it is even more colour. And shadow more silence. Therefore, work is in its negative, in its void, in the hole. Once again, exhalation allows to inhale again. Something alike happens with vessels, all of them keep a strain while they wait to be filled. In the meanwhile, air flows, going in and out just like it does in nose and mouth. Light penetrates likewise, if the vessel is made of glass (a wink to the first false exit: Grandes Verres, air from Paris), and we understand light truly when it goes off course or hides.

Also the shapes are organic, in two ways: as representation (curved lines as simultaneous concavities and convexities, almost sexual) and as traces (track of a gesture, muscular activity). They go from swinging routes to insistence in one point. Advance and origin. The contrast is established by tools and found industrial supports, with their amount of mechanical coldness. Emotiveness and enthusiasm, sensibility and effort. Damned happiness is the title, indicating a sense of humor that also fits in his transformation wish, because this artist deeply respects the tradition he belongs to, and at the same time allows himself not to take it too seriously. Ramón Gómez de la Serna, also underlined by Israel, advises: "Don't let what is done rest for a long time, don't want to make it permanent. In case that it deserves to be permanent, break it intermittently in order to create it again. But break it, stir it up, revolve it, so it doesn't corrupts itself."

Is this also another false exit? It could be, let's breath.



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