“I believe that art grows from feelings and not rational calculations alone.”
– Menashe Kadishman
Tel Aviv, Israel, 1932 – 2015
Kadishman was born in Tel Aviv in 1932 where he studied with sculptors Moshe Sternschuss and Rudi Lehmann before attending St. Martin’s School of Art and Slade School of Art in London. He remained there until 1972. He is a renowned artist whose work has been exhibited around the world at museums including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in the United States, Guan Shanyue Museum of Art in China and the Israel Museum. He has many permanent exhibitions across the globe. The works of Menashe Kadishman are fixated on the seminal biblical story of the Akeidah, the sacrifice of Isaac, which Kadishman has explored at length and used to touch on issues of war, pain, anguish, forgiveness, familial relationships, birth, rebirth and survival. The most frequent icon Kadishman employs is that of the ram that was sacrificed instead of Isaac. In his youth, between 1950 and 1953, Kadishman worked as a shepherd on Kibbutz Ma’ayan Baruch. This experience with nature, sheep and shepherding had a significant impact on his later artistic work and career. The first major appearance of sheep in his work was in the 1978 Venice Biennale, where Kadishman presented a flock of colored live sheep as living art. In 1995, he began painting portraits of sheep by the hundreds, and even thousands, each one different from the next. These instantly-recognizable sheep portraits soon became his artistic “trademark”. His sculptures of the 1960s were Minimalist in style, and so designed as to appear to defy gravity. This was achieved either through careful balance and construction or by using glass and metal so that the metal appeared unsupported. The glass allowed the environment to be part of the work.