Emily D. Bilski
Louise Fishman’s painting encapsulates both the process of making a golem and the created golem itself. The work reveals Fishman’s fascination with the physical properties of oil paint. Likening painting to working in wet clay, she has spoken of using paint as a sculptural material. Building up an energized surface with thickly impastoed paint strokes applied with a palette knife, Fishman’s vigorous manipulation of her medium creates forms with the presence and authority of objects. This is the result of months of scraping and repainting, before the painting emerges as a new entity, a process that, in its difficulty, Fishman has compared to making a golem.
The artist’s gestures—the movements of her arm and hand—are reflected in the strong directional character of the arcs of paint that surround the central circular motifs, and radiate out from them towards the corners of the composition. These dynamic circular forms, with their powerful thrust of direction, recall the actions of the medieval mystics, who would create a golem figure from earth and then animate it by circling it on foot while reciting incantations.
Resembling foetuses, the two central forms offer a concise visual expression of a golem as an entity embodying tremendous potential: a creature in the process of becoming, waiting to unleash its energy.
Emily D. Bilski is an art historian, the main focus of her work is the interface between art, cultural history, and the modern Jewish experience as well as contemporary art. She works as a curator and counselor for museums in the United States, Europe, and Israel. Her books Berlin Metropolis: Jews and the New Culture: 1890-1918 (1999) and Jewish Women and Their Salons: The Power of Conversation (2005) were both awarded the National Jewish Book Award.
Emily D. Bilski (2016), Louise Fishman’s Paint Golem. Article in the Exhibition Catalogue GOLEM.
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Chapter 3 - Transformation: Selected Texts (6)
The Golem in Berlin
by Peter Schäfer
The Golem Lives On
With Texts by Martina Lüdicke, Anna-Dorothea Ludewig, Louisa Hall and Caspar Battegay
With Texts by Emily D. Bilski and Martina Lüdicke
With Texts by Emily D. Bilski, Christopher Lyon, Rita Kersting, Jorge Gil and David Musgrave
With Texts by Martina Lüdicke, Peter Schäfer, and Harold Gabriel Weisz Carrington
Horror and Magic
With Texts by Martina Lüdicke, Karin Harrasser, Cathy S. Gelbin, Helene Wecker and Anna Augustin
Out of Control
With Texts by Emily D. Bilski, Arno Pařík, Marc Estrin and Charlotta Kotik
With Texts by Joshua Cohen, Tracy Bartley, Cosima Wagner
Golem Catalog Online
Selected texts from our catalog
Golem Catalog – Print Version
The full version of our catalog is available in German.
Exhibition catalogs, the JMB Journal, book series, and more
All About ...
Trailer, views of the exhibition, and more
23 Sep 2016 to 29 Jan 2017