An Artist’s Turning Point / Yigal Bin Noon
In Jacob Gildor’s career we have a clear case of an artist’s turning point, 1988 being the year it happened. Apparently, at least, what has been will be no more. A new artist is born. Gildor breaks into a new artistic ‘galaxy’, which will determine from now on his standing within the community. The changing of galaxies is not a frequent event in this world of artists. Generally the status of an artist is determined on joining the community of creators. Any change in the quality scales of his work during his career takes place within the mother galaxy, and in direct proportion to its constituents.
Simultaneously with his law studies , at the University of Tel Aviv, Gildor has developed a unique drawing style and held exhibitions of his work - imaginary scenes consisting of warped human forms, often reminding the sarcasm of the German George Grosz.
n 1972 Gildor meets the teacher who would influence his future career: the Viennese artist Fuchs.
ISince then his drawings oscillate between realism and surrealism, between fantasy and the classic.
Above all, he drives his efforts and energy in adopting classic methods which integrate tempera, oil colors and eggs, techniques which will serve him to build Renaissance images and European literary-mythological scenes, far removed from the here and now.
Gildor’s imagination wanders to other places and his pleasures are embedded firmly in faraway periods, well away from the subjects that Isreal’s avant-guarde artists of the seventies dealt which. He developed an international career and held exhibitions in important art centers all over the world, publishing learned catalogues and other literature.
From time to time Gildor revealed another aspect of his varied world of art. Sometimes a series of woodcuts, at other times unique prints (monotypes) on paper. On such occasions Renaissance themes made place for day to day scenes: the technique somewhat imposing on the content.
In 1987, while staying at the Cite des Arts in Paris, the Renaissance characteristics disappeared from his work to be replaced by French decadence figures of the coffee houses, which Marcel Proust made us love so much. The Paris cafe atmosphere easily overflows and permeates to the nearby St. Denis street, with its ‘aura’ of desire and erotics. Gildor reminds us here of the German Otto Six and the stories of David Fogel with the Viennese cafes of pre - World War ll. or maybe, this is only a reminder of his father’s cafe in the “Great (Crime) Area” of Jaffa at that time, with its picturesque hero figures of that time.
Here we must note that every mode of expression Gildor tries, we discover a touch of the virtuoso in him. Yet, the content of the works hardly include the daily realities of Israel.
The early Gildor is an artist of the “over there”, his paintings long for other places and other times. It is not surprising, therefore, that he is so well appreciated in Europe and in the United States of America. It is not until the pluralistic open-mindedness of the eighties in Israel, that the change in Gildor ripens and eventually in 1988 asserts itself.
In May 1989, Gildor holds a small exhibition in the intimate and exclusive Tova Ossmann Gallery, surprising many in its sensitivity and its actuality. Paintings of flowers in a vase, almost banal. The surprise in not in the subject chosen but in the free hand and the very personal touch. The handwriting shows a sensitivity which we did not notice before, did not discern in the almost lyrical coffee house scenes. As if the drawing grows by itself with no visible effort, and all in harmony with the current post-modern trends.
Gildor's "Segments of Creation" exhibition in The Israeli Art Museum Ramat Gan (2009) continues and consolidates the change. A shrewd eye can feel the hints which accompany the wink from his early period drawings.It's both a change and a continuation.
The early iconography of Gildor appears in various comers of the exhibition. With naughty swing of the land Gildor brings us back to the classic nude, to a dialogus with Matisse, within pseudo-oriental ornaments of a rich background decoration. It may just as well be that the dialogue is with the Nordic Kees Van Dongen and his white skinned women, or it may be the sarcasm of Otto Dix and George Grosz, this whispering to us with a ruffian’s smile: the change is indeed a change, but I have not forgotten my old loves.