Self-published artist book, 2019
Design and Production: Field-Day.Studio
The book is a kind of visual diary, not necessarily chronological but rather offering a seismograph of moments where the psyche and the creative imagination express themselves through the eye and the hand; sometimes in reference to life itself, for the most part directly, immediately and wisely eschewing virtuosity. The works are printed full page, with no frame, leaking from sheet to sheet so the book resembles a sketchbook. In the double spreads the images sometimes inspire and pollinate each other.
The works in the book can be divided into personal pieces – some rooted in Hirsch’s dreams and thoughts, some capturing morsels of reality – and pieces that seem to showcase Hirsch as a man of culture, fusing different sediments from the history of human civilization: pharaonic and medieval art, Christian iconography, Art Deco, Jewish art, echoes of Picasso and of the Russian avant-garde.
One of the book’s most beautiful and enigmatic drawings shows two men facing each other, perhaps the two sides of the self. The one facing us is wearing a suit and tie, his hair combed back, his upper body drawn fully while his legs are only outlined and his nose merely indicated by his cheek’s shadow. The one with his back to us is wearing a tank top and sports shorts, and, apart from the thickness of his cropped black hair, is drawn only in outlines. His body’s left side has been erased, leaving his whole sporting essence hanging by a thread. The two men facing each other are poised for a fight or a dance, a red string stretching like a triangle between their hands in some mysterious, pointless ritual that prevents them from touching each other.
“Man with bird / man with flower / white woman” is written in ink-dipped pen above the drawing of “The Choir Boy”, who is holding a black songbird in his transparent hands and looking at us with eyes lost in a dream.
Another work was made on a yellowing quad sheet. Three drawings in blue ink in a hesitant line, of a man kneeling, bending over his dog, which is getting nearer and darker-toned from one drawing to the next, like a sequence from an animation film, with the outlines of the animator’s fingers intimated on the page’s margins.
Then we get to the clipped profiled face of Giacometti, which emerges from a clipping of a totem pole in negative, like Brâncuși’s Endless Column, a wondrous amalgam of two wonderful sculptors, while to its left and all along its height unfolds some abstract reaction between matter and non-matter, form and non-form.
The silvery pencil lines of the back-cover drawing have to be reconstructed from the dark shade of the paper, before a dream picture can open up. The near-naked trunk and branches of a solitary tree, its few leaves resembling crow feathers, with elongated human figures walking on them on all fours, like the snakes before the expulsion from Eden, a man and a woman kissing with a white dove perched on the man’s back, and another figure of a woman-man walking below them. It is a beautiful drawing whose lines move from the hushed, free and personal to the painstakingly designed. A drawing mostly woven from outlines, with several spots where the shadow gathers, a poetic, sensitive drawing
Holding the book in one’s hands, it seems for a moment like a slate extracted from an archaeological site, imprinted with impressions from different periods in the history of human civilization and in its own history. The cover bears no inscription, only images of the drawings. It is a meticulously and sumptuously designed, somewhat enigmatic cover.
The front drawing is printed on light-coloured paper, which is glued to and wrapped around the cover’s cardboard. The back drawing is printed on dark paper, which is glued to and wrapped around the cover’s medium-toned cardboard, with the drawing printed on the spine serving like an anatomic cross-section that continues-discontinues or connects-disconnects the different anatomies of the drawings on the front and back. This cover is a precise and rich cross-section of design, a kind of offering extended from the artist to the reader.
From “One Eye Shut”, by Uzi Tzur.
31.3.20 Tel Aviv
Translated by Michal Sapir
Hardcover, 160 pages
Available for purchase at
Reading-Room, 88 Ibn Gvirol St. Tel Aviv
Tolaatsf, 7 Maze St. Tel Aviv
Sipurpashut, 36 Shabazi St. Tel Aviv