Jerusalem Anthologia
Ela Binshtok

Ela Binshtok

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Ela Binshtok is not only an artist as technician, but also artist as poet. What exactly do I mean when I call her a poet? Look closely at her works "In the Memory of my Sarah" (1985), "Farewell to Moscow" (1976), and others. Your first impression that they are incomplete, unfinished, lasts only a few seconds, giving way to the sense that each of them is a real poetical work. You look at the canvas and realize little by little that the apparent incompleteness of the strokes, the unclearness of details, the sometimes conflicting combinations of colors, are intentional "gaps in meaning" which leave an incredible amount of room for individual creative interpretation, fantasy, feelings. At the same time there is not the slightest doubt that the author is aware what has been missed, not stated, omitted from the visible frame (literally!) of the image. It should probably also be mentioned that the artist's work is not devoid of political themes (cf. "Removal of the Monument", 1985; "Seven Angels", 1986 and other works) since, as Alexander Galich says, we don't all live off on a cloud somewhere...

Ella Binshtok can create a compact and expressive landscape that leaves you feeling disturbed and restless in your heart. Also she is not afraid of bold experimentation with the form of expression of her artistic thoughts and feelings. Her portraits represent the whole spectrum of the portrait genre: from strict realism to the purest romanticism and even symbolism...

And finally as to the artist's self-portraits, made in 1951, 1957 and 1965. There is a certain fear and bewilderment in the first one, an attentive look at the outside world in the second, and a fortitude of spirit, a devotion to the artist's own creative path in the third. The artist as poet tells about herself. But, one wonders, is it only about herself? Doesn't the artist in fact tell about how she would like to see us be? - smarter, kinder, more honest, and sometimes, in spite of everything, really happy human beings.

Nachum Basovsky


  • Bio-bibliographical Dictionary of Artists of the Peoples of the USSR (Bio-bibliograficheskii slovar' khudozhnikov narodov SSSR), 1970 edition, V.1;
  • "Yunost" magazine, N 9, 1969, colored inset;
  • World Lexicon of Artists, V.9, Germany, 1984;
  • Catalogue "Ela Binshtok. Painting", Moscow, 1990;
  • Artist's World. Moscow, "Sovetskii khudozhnik" Publishers, 1991;
  • Catalogue of the group exhibition "Like a Pure Spring" ("Kak chistyi rodnik"). Moscow, "Moskovskii khudozhnik" Publishers, July, 14, 1991, pp. 3-17.
  • Computer Bank of Arts of the Information Agency ITAR-TASS of Russia, the Electronic Publishers "ARTINFO".