About: Menashe Kadishman
Menashe Kadishman was born in Tel Aviv in 1932. He enlisted to the Nahal unit in 1950, and was stationed at Kibbutz Maayan Baruch, at the border crossing between Lebanon, Syria and Israel. He worked as a sheep shepherd and spent most of his time outdoors, a theme that comes through in many of his works. Kadishman studied sculpture under the sculptor Moshe Sternshus between 1947-50 and in 1954 continued to study sculpture under the sculptor Rudy Lehmann. In 1959 he went to study art in London where he painted and sculpted. He finally returned to Israel in 1972. In 1978, Kadishman was chosen to represent Israel at the Venice Biennale, where he presented a herd of painted sheep while he himself served as their shepherd. In the following years, the sheep motif developed in his work, they began to appear in most of his works and even became his trademark. This motif was influenced by his years of work as a shepherd and the continued time he spent outdoors during his military service in the early 1950s. The closeness to the land, life and Israeli nature are reflected in the artist's works of art. The narrative of the sheep represents for the artist a Jewish-Israeli symbol that connects both to the roots and localities of the Land of Israel and to Judaism, by which the sheep motif connects to the Binding of Isaac and Sacrifice. In 1982, the First Lebanon War broke out and his son was drafted into the army. At this point the artist began to paint and sculpt the story of the Binding of Isaac. He also drew themes of death and heroism. In a sense Kadishman felt as a father who, like Abraham, ascends his son to an altar for a higher purpose, in this case, a conscription order for the IDF and the civil service during the war. In 1988, Menashe Kadishman began creating a new theme, birth. This theme has different variations in a series of hundreds of sculptures and paintings. The theme of birth evolved from the Binding theme. The birth symbolizes the giving and taking of life. It is understandable that this theme occupied Kadishman many times during his life. The mother is universal and symbolizes all mothers and all births. In addition, Kadishman refers to the verse "sadly give birth to sons" in the sense that he connects the birth to the akeda and also calls the mother of the fallen Israeli soldier. Tel Aviv municipality commissioned the sculpture "Ascension" to the plaza next to the Habima Theater in Tel Aviv. This sculpture has become a hallmark of the environment and of the artist. This sculpture like other Kadishman sculptures deals with resistance to gravity. Menashe Kadishman drew this sculptural style during his military service from the sights of the rocks in nature. His sculptures are usually made of iron or steel, materials that communicate with their environment. At the beginning of his career the artist sculpted in a more geometric way with abstract shapes, but over the years he moved towards less abstract figurative sculpture. Kadishman is one of the most important artists in the Israeli art scene, and has also been a great international success. He was selected as the winner of the Israel Prize in Sculpture in 1995 and won first prize in sculpture from the Paris Biennale in 1967. He presented numerous solo and group exhibitions in Israel and around the world. His works are in some of the most important art collections in Israel, including museums and institutional collections, and a number of important museums around the world.